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tv   Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  August 16, 2012 1:00am-6:00am EDT

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describe the system in vermont. the governor appoints the judges. the legislature votes consent. after a period of years, the legislature has a vote on a retention. >> yes. >> i -- most of the time they are retained. a system like that, where the legislature -- >> is one step removed with the public. it can work if the state is status -- is satisfied with it. if you can set it up that way, it would be preferred. most states that have retention elections are for the people to the voters. >> that would be the time where people raise money for campaigns, is it not? >> normally it is just one name
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up for retention, without being contested at some level. there would be no need for campaign money. >> that is a good point. the a few years ago you interviewed justice john paul stevens. this goes back to some of the questions on the confirmation -- you said that it came out that sometimes the confirmation hearing, you are answering questions and issues come up and you may have a different view at the time the issue comes up. is that a fact? >> that is a fact. >> had you had that happen to you? >> 's. i do not remember specifically. >> -- possibly.
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i do not remember specifically. >> would you agree with me that it would be a mistake in the confirmation process that we should be able to expect that we will get a very specific answer in how you will vote on a case five years from now? >> yes. i think that is probably not a very good question to even asked a prospective justice. >> is it valid to ask questions of one's judicial philosophy? >> absolutely. >> and their background? >> absolutely. >> center blumenthal, did you have anything else? >> no. >> again, the two of you, would all of the students who are here stand up? i think this is great. >> you still have a lot to are
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listening. that is good. [laughter] >> justice o'connor, i thank you. i want to thank all of you who are here. justice o'connor, i thank you very much. >> thank you, senator leahy. thank you, senators for iinterest and presence. it yet suggestions of telling people in your state to use the civics program, i hope you will. i think it will help us. >> i have some grandchildren who will get a chance. >> i do, too. thank you. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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[conversation] [inaudible conversation
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[inaudible conversation]
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>> in 12 days, watch gavel-to- gavel coverage of the republican convention here on c-span. continuing our tradition of showing every minute of every major party convention since
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1984. coming up, congressman chris van hollen talks about the impact of the ryan budget on medicare and the economy. later, a former alabama congressman talks for campaigning for mitt romney it -- in virginia. that is followed by the president and first lady on the last leg of a three-day bus tour in iowa. a sister from the leadership conference talks about the relationship with the vatican. she will address criticism of the group, for what some say are views that go against the church. that is here on c-span. >> and this weekend, on booktv, in their book, "who is counting ," they say there are serious
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problems with fraud in the u.s. elections system. >> there is a whole series of print you have to do to make sure you have an election with integrity and that everyone is confident that the person who got the most votes is there. >> saturday night at 10 eastern, and then, a talk about the largest bank failure in u.s. history, the collapse of washington mutual. part of our booktv weekend on c- span2. >> house ranking member chris van hollen says he has a good relationship with paul ryan, the committee chairman, but said they have, quote, very deep and personal differences on where we should go in this country." he made those comments in new hampshire. this event is a regular stop for presidential candidates. this is one hour.
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[applause] >> thank you. thank you, jim, for that very warm introduction. thank you for your leadership with the new england council. thank all of you who are members of the new england council. it is great to participate in this tradition of politics and eggs. i look forward to signing a couple more of those eggs as the morning goes on. i want to thank the new hampshire institute of politics were hopping to organize this effort.
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i want to recognize some of my who i the privilege of working with, paul, who was here this morning. thank you for all your service and what you are continuing to do in your various capacities. mike, thank you for your leadership and past service to the country. larry, thank you for helping to pull this together. to all of you, it is really a privilege to be up here in the granite state of new hampshire. we all know this is a pivotal moment in the presidential election, and other elections taking place, which present a very clear choice for all of us. i know from my own state of maryland and my travels around the country, including new hampshire, that the american people are fair and that they will examine the facts. they will very clearly examine this choice. i know that new hampshire, given its unique role in the presidential selection process, takes those responsibilities very seriously. i'm very privileged to be with you here this morning. i do believe that the choice in the presidential election has come into much sharper focus
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since mitt romney, governor romney, selected paul ryan as his running mate. i should say at the outset, and larry indicated this, jim indicated this, the personal relationship we have is a very good one. we get along well. we have, however, very deep and fundamental differences on where we should go in this country. the good news is that i believe in the budget committee and on the floor of the house we have been able to express those differences in a civil manner, in a way that has sharpened and elevated the debate and made the choice is more clear. i very much hope that as we head into the final days of this election we will focus on those choices that are before us, focus on a very deep policy
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differences. i fundamentally believe that, when you examine the ryan-romney plan, you will discover that it is simply returning to to a failed trickle-down economic strategy, a strategy we tried during the bush of ministration, which crashed against the heart wall of reality. after those eight years, we lost private-sector jobs and the deficit was skyrocketing. if you look at the ryan-romney plan, it does provide the big tax breaks to people at the very top on the theory that somehow the trickle-down effect will boost everybody. that simply did not happen. i did not -- i do not know why we want to return to that approach. let's review the facts. it is important to start at the
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beginning of the last four year story. we all know that the day the president was sworn in he inherited a huge financial and economic mess. there can be no disputing that fact. specifics. we know, at that time, that the economy was in total freefall. over 800,000 americans were losing their jobs every month. the gdp was plummeting toward great depression levels at a - 8% g.d.p. rate. that was spiraling downward. if you compare retirement savings from the fall of 2007 to the time president bush left office, their value had collapsed by 1/3. these are retirement savings, 401k plans. that is what the president walked into.
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i should say that it is a very good thing that we did not take the advice of former president bush and paul ryan to privatize social security. the reality is, had we made that choice that they were strongly advocating, there would have been millions of americans who were put at total economic risk the economy. i am glad we did not roll the dice and take that chance with seniors at that time. millions of seniors rely entirely on social security. millions more have social security as their primary source of income, and yet, when you have that collapsed in the 401k side of the retirement system, that is all many people could have fallen back on. you are rolling the dice with that -- people would have been in great jeopardy. that is the situation that the
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president inherited. he acted very quickly. he acted very quickly. in the face of that economic collapse, he worked with the democratic congress to pass the economic recovery bill. he worked with the congress to rescue the auto industry and american manufacturing. he took those steps immediately. the results were good. as determined by the nonpartisan congressional budget office. we all know that we have a long way to go in the economy, but let's review the results as determined by the nonpartisan congressional budget office. i am on the budget committee. we have lots of back-and-forth, but there is a referee. the referee is this agency called the congressional budget office. they are professionals who examine the facts and make the
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best projections they can and best analyses they can. they have determined that as a result of the recovery act and other actions that were taken we saved over 3 million jobs in this country. we are spiralling downwards, you enact the recovery bill, he began to turn the corner and move upwards. we have now had 29 consecutive months of positive private sector job growth. those retirement savings that took such a big hit have now comeback and are at a higher level than they were before the big fall. there is much more retirement security there for the american people. since elections are about choices, it is important to ask the question, what was mitt romney proposing at that time? what were the republicans suggesting? mitt romney said, he thought there was an important government role in rescuing the financial sector.
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when it came to the meltdown in wall street, he said, yes, i think there is a role for government there. when it came to rescuing main street and the auto industry and american manufacturing, he said now. let them go bankrupt. it is not that he does not see the government playing any role in times of emergency. he was all-in to rescue wall street. he was a wall when it came to trying to help mainstream -- awol when it came to try to help manufacturing. you remember when he was in nevada. housing prices fell to no fault of homeowners.
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up with a plan to help credit worthy home owners whose home prices have plummeted and were under water on their mortgages. he said, let it hit bottom. that was his answer. he did not what wall street to hit bottom, but the auto industry, american manufacturing, homeowners who were under water through no fault of their own -- no government role there. what about the new vice- president candidate, paul ryan? it has been reported that, three days before the president was inaugurated, paul ryan and a group of what are called the young guns who are now big leaders in the republican house leadership, they gathered in washington and decided to come up with a plan and how they were going to work against the president. as one of them said, their plan was essentially to oppose whatever the president proposed. this is before they even knew
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what the president was going to propose. that was their plan. we all know the remark that was made by the republican leader in the united states senate, mitch mcconnell, who when asked what his top party was, he said, not jobs, not the economy, but defeating the president. right from the start, the president was facing a major effort to defeat him rather than focus with him on solving the problems the country faced. so what happens? the first bill he proposed was legislation to allow women who have been discriminated against based on pay in the work force to have an opportunity to get justice. every republican and the house leadership and voted against that. that was the first bill.
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pretty straightforward. only three house republicans voted for it. paul ryan voted against it. next up was the recovery bill. not a single house republicans voted for it. the president proposes, we will oppose. that did not stop a lot of republican members of congress, once the recovery bill was passed, -- from asking its first \ some of that recovery stimulus money to boost jobs in their own states and districts. many who had been widely reported on the time -- at the time. just yesterday the "boston globe" had a story about how paul ryan had sent a letter to the department of energy in december 2009 asking for funds to help boost the local economy in wisconsin.
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the letter said that he would help stimulate the local economy by creating new jobs. again, no votes for the recovery bill, hard illogical line against it, -- the ideological line against it, yet republican members recognize it could help in their local economies. the president has been the first to recognize that we need to do a lot more to help put americanshe understands that this recovery remains very fragile and that millions of americans are hurting. he has proposed another major jobs initiative. he submitted that to the congress last a timbre. it includes a number of very important elements. one of the most important elements to be a major new investment in our nation's
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infrastructure. new roads, bridges, transit, ports. if you look at the reports by the american society of civil engineers, not a right wing group or a left-wing group, they give the united states a group -- a great of d when it comes to infrastructure. if we will compete with international competitors, we need a 21st centuryan energy infrastructure, the foundations that help move goods and the world. the president proposed that -- $50 billion. major initiative. he proposed initial -- additional measures to help small businesses. that was in september. we have not had a vote in the house of representatives on the
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president's jobs initiative. the house of representatives to repeal obamacare, the affordable care act, but not a single vote on the rest of the president's jobs initiative. now less september the president also submitted a plan for long- term deficit reduction. we have to big parties. one is to nurture and boost the fragile recovery we remain in. it is important to pass a jobs initiative. we will take other measures to accomplish that. what other measure the president has pposed is providing confidence to the country by extending a immediately tax relief for the vast majority of american people. 98% of the country. 97% of past-through businesses. overwhelming amounts of the american people support this. we need to do that now to provide confidence, but we also need to be serious about taking a credible plan and posture with respect to our long-term deficit.
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our long-term growth is going to under control. we should do it in a balanced way. if we do not get our deficits under control, over time that additional government spending will crowd out private investment. we have got to do that. the question is, how do you do that? last tender, the same time the president submitted his jobs his plan for a long-term deficit reduction. here-submitted that as part of his budget. it would reduce the deficit over 10 years by $4 trillion. that was the target established by the bipartisan submission -- -- simpson bowls commission.
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he does it in a balanced way. cuts for every $1 of additional revenue. a balanced approach, a shared responsibility approach. erskine bowles, one of the co- authors of the report, recently penned an op ed in the "washington post" that says the following. and i quote. in contrast to romney, the president, like the gang of six and other light-member -- like- minded members of both parties, has embraced the principle that merit -- america will turn the corner on its debt only if republicans and democrats come together to support a balanced deficit-reduction plan. the president has embraced the central principle of simpson- bowles, that we need a balanced approach to deficit reduction. anybody who is a true old-style fiscal conservative recognizes that we have got to get our deficits under control and the long-term. if you are serious, you
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recognize that we have got to deal with both sides of the revenue. that is the great family -- of the romney-ryan approach. the ryan budget, which has been embraced by governor romney, he says he would sign it if he were president, takes a totally uncompromising, hard-edge, right-wing ideological approach to our economy and our budget. it doubles down on this notion that somehow tax breaks for folks at the very top will boost the economy. it does so at the expense of everyone and everything else. let's online this a little bit. it would provide these big tax breaks. the theory is that providing people like mitt romney another tax break will trickle down and boost the economy. as i said, at the outset, we have tried this before.
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it is no longer a theory. we have the evidence. the results are in. at the end of the eight years of the bush administration, after tax cuts that disproportionately benefited folks at the very top, we had a net loss of private-sector jobs. the only thing that went up was the deficit, and it went way up. so why in the world would we go back to a playbook that did not help the economy and drove up the deficit? we know from the clinton years that a balanced approach to the economy and to the budget and to deficit can lead to huge job growth. 20 million jobs were created during the clinton administration after the 1993 clinton tax plan.
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the president is saying with respect to fall to the very top, we can no longer afford that. republicans have taken a position -- they will not pass it now because they will hold middle-income taxpayers hostage until they can get cuts for the folks at the very top. i thought they agreed we had this long-term fiscal challenge we had to deal with in a balanced way. that is one problem. the economic theory has been tested by reality and it failed. here is the thing that will become very clear in this campaign to the american people. it is not just that tax cuts for the wealthy do not work in terms of boosting the economy -- they the country. if you are serious about deficit reduction over the long-term, and all of us should be, if you ask nothing from the faults of the very top, if you subscribe to the north -- grover norquist pledge, as 99% of the republican house members have, it says not one additional penny of revenue can come from the wealthiest deficit.
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not one penny. the american people can do the math on this. you are not going to ask for one penny from the wealthiest americans, and you want to deal with the long-term budget deficits, everyone and everything else gets hit. let's look at a couple of examples. let's start with middle-class taxpayers. the tax policy center, which is an independent, non-partisan body, recently did an analysis of the ron the tax plan. they concluded that -- romani tax plan. -- the mitt romney tax plan. they concluded that by providing these tax cuts in a deficit- neutral manner, you will end up raising the tax burden on middle income taxpayers. you will have to eliminate a lot of deductions in the tax code that to help middle-income taxpayers.
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mortgage interest deduction, exemption for the cost of health insurance provided by employers, all of those deductions are at risk. therefore, the price to be paid for tax breaks for the folks at the very top, another round of them, if you want to do it in a deficit neutral manner, which they want to do because they say they are real fiscal conservatives, that means other people are going to have to pay more through eliminating some of those important deductions the people rely on. i can support tax reform, but i cannot support tax reform
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masquerading as a trojan horse for just another round of tax breaks for the folks at the very top at the expense of everybody else. i should say that, early in this campaign, governor romney pointed to the tax policy center as an authoritative, independent source when they did analysis that work in his favor. because they are at or to -- an authoritative source. it should be said that under the ryan tax plan, mitt romney's tax rate would drop to below 1%. i can understand why governor romney likes the plan. but an independent analysis was done the other day that showed, if you apply that version of the rhine plan to mitt romney's 2010 taxes, it would drop from 15%, which is already pretty low effective rate with some of that income, down to 1%. who picks up the tab for that? if you are serious about reducing the deficit? everybody else. so it will hit middle-income taxpayers harder. we had an amendment that democrats offered when this plan was put forward by paul
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ryan. it said, ok, let's test this. we had an amendment that said, when you do tax reform, do not increase the tax burden on taxpayers earning under to the energy to thousand dollars. they voted against it. they know that is the fundamental indication of that plan. who else is that it? -- who else gets hit? it's our economy and our growth. it hits the opportunity for more americans. again, if you are serious about debt reduction -- deficit reduction, and u.s. nothing from people at the very top, you will cut deeply into education funding, deeply into research, science, innovative technologies, and will cut deeply into infrastructure. the rise in budget cuts deeply into infrastructure spending. under the budget plan, it would dramatically reduce it next year. reduce it, not provide a bigger investor as -- a bigger investment as the president
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called for, but cut it. that is a time when we have needs and also 14% unemployment in construction workers. it will compete with china and india and everybody else in the world, we need a first-class, 21st century infrastructure. and it would cut deeply into that. had we do that? training and community colleges, -- is a bad investment to do that. to cut that, which allows everybody to reach their full potential. i want to focus on this very important issue -- it hits seniors very hard. seniors on medicare and people who rely on medicaid. there is no doubt that now and over the longer term we need to deal with the issues of rising
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health-care costs. rising health-care costs are not unique to medicare. throughout our system. we spend 18% of our gross national product on health care, far more than any otherthere is no doubt that we need to deal with those rising costs. but there is a fundamental difference between the way the president is proposed to do it and democrats are proposed to do it, and the way that governor romney and paul ryan have proposed to do it. under the president's approach, as we began with the affordable care act, what we say is that we need to move the health care system, especially in medicare, away from a deeper service system that rewards the volume and quantity of care over the value of care and quality of care. we need to move the incentive structure away from that to reduce costs in the health-care system. let me give you an example.
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hospitals -- when you are a patient who goes to the hospital, the hospital gets paid by medicare. right? it should. they get paid. the patient gets released in the hospital -- they develop complications from the same condition that the patient originally went to the hospital for. they are readmitted. the hospital is paid again by medicare. the hospital has no financial incentive under the current system to coordinate care for the patient once the patient has left the hospital. that does not make sense. as part of the affordable care act, we changed that. we're moving for payments to accounts will care organizations -- for accountable care organizations to make sure there are incentives to coordinate care for that patient so you avoid the extra cost for repeated hospital admissions. let me give you another example. a lot of people do not realize that medicare already has a private plan component, medicare part b, private health
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-- part d, private health insurance. it turns out that medicare was compensating private insurance plans on average of 114% of the fee for service plans. in other words, these private plans that work established to reduce the costs of medicare actually increase costs. one of the things we did is that we began to eliminate those overpayments, the excessive subsidies. they were paid not only by taxpayers to buy every medicare recipient who is in a fee-for- service plan. they pay higher premiums for those plans. we said, that does not make any sense at all. we reduced those. we used some of the savings to strengthen some benefits in medicare. the prescription drug donald hall was closed so that fears of -- the prescription drug
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doughnut hole was closed so that fears of high prescription drug costs are not left high and dry. we eliminated the copays for preventive health care so more seniors will get preventive care before they get more chronic conditions that are more costly. those of the kinds of things that we did to save money on medicare. that is how we use some of the money to strengthen benefits. i should point out -- i have two, but i just want to point this out. this is an important issue that we should be talking about. this is what the medicare trusties report says. this is non-partisan. "the financial outlook for the
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medicare program is substantially improved as a result of the changes in the affordable care act." substantially improved. because of some of the savings we talked about, the dollars can go farther. we use some of those dollars for the purpose of improving the approach? it is not to reduce overall health-care costs. it is to simply transfer those rising health-care costs from seniors on medicare to seniors. that is what the congressional -- that is why the congressional budget office said that under the earlier version of the ryan plan, 10 years from now, seniors on medicare would pay $6,000 more for the same set of benefits. the new plan, it will cost seniors more for the same reason -- they are simply transferring costs off of the medicare program, not reducing costs are saving costs. they are transferring them to seniors on medicare.
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at the same time, your budget says they will provide big tax breaks for the very top. the other point i want to make is that in the health-care plan for members of congress provides protection for members of congress against rising health- care costs. it is a fixed percentage, premier support as opposed to a voucher plan. as health-care costs rise, members of congress can be assured that 72% of those costs will be covered by health care -- the health care plan. they are proposing a much worse deal for seniors on medicarea much worse deal.
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under their plan, the way they save money is to de-link the amount that seniors receive from the medicare program from the costs of medicare. the result is that -- i chart -- see the screen mind here, that represents the steady premiums support that members of congress get under their plan, 72% coverage. that red line is what happens to medicare recipients under their voucher plan. the amount that senior citizens get for medicare drops dramatically. that means that i did their costs go way up or they get less coverage and less benefits. again, at the same time, folks at the very top are getting a better deal. i will make one last point on this medicare issue. you hear a lot about the fact that republican -- the republican plan does not touch seniors over 55 years old. that is not true. here is why. i mentioned that we use some of the savings by getting rid of the overpayments to private
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insurance companies and medicare to close the prescription drug doughnut hole and -- the budget of republicans does not cover those things. it reopens the prescription drug doughnut hole, so if you are a senior with high prescription drug costs, you are going to be paying thousands of dollars more. if you use a lot of prevented -- preventative health care services, that will save money. it will cost you more. immediately, not 10 years from now. it costs you more immediately, and in 10 years when the other plant goes into effect, that is when seniors get a much worse deal than members of congress. mitt romney is out there running an advertisement, saying, the president of the democrats -- they cut medicaid.
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i think hopefully i have been clear that no benefits were cut. we did get rid of subsidies. companies that were being overpaid. it was a waste of taxpayer dollars. the medicare trustees said that helps extend the life of the fund. we used that to strengthen this, and in the ryan budget, they took all of those savings. they wanted to pocket the savings from the affordable care at, but they did not spend one penny on strengthening the medicare benefits. they did not get rid of the doughnut hole or help with preventive care. they did not do that. that is why you saw paul ryan on television.
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they are taking these and running ads against them. they did not strengthen this in their budget, but we did. this is a fundamental debate. this reduces the health care costs by finding greater efficiencies and changing structures. we do that, and that we can reduce costs without hurting seniors. i am going to close now. this is a brave and courageous budget. i disagree. i do not think it is brave or courageous at all to provide tax breaks to very wealthy people at the expense of seniors on
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medicare, at the expense of infrastructure and at the expense of taxpayers. i do not think it is courageous at all to offshore more american jobs rather than creating more jobs right here. i do not think it is good for the medicaid program where two- thirds of which help seniors in nursing homes and individuals with disabilities. and they really lack that. i do not think that is brave or courageous. take the balanced approach that they say the president's approach takes. the hallway or the highway approach. this will take us back to the
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road of the eight years of the bush administration, and we know what happens at the end of that road. this is going to be huge for the country. i appreciate your time and attention. i hope this will be about fundamental choices. more for the grass words politicking, the american people will make the right choice and reelect president obama. thank you very much. [applause] i am happy to take questions, yes. >> we can take one or two questions. >> i am involuntary spokesperson
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for aarp. i am glad you mentioned this. fortunately, i get around to meet members and other seniors, and seniors are concerned not only about what is going to be there for their children and grandchildren. they are concerned about something on both sides, and they read and hear about a $500 billion reduction in care, and that is $700 billion. savings. is that right? >> that is right. this is what they're trying to perpetrate on the american people.
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this is the great hoax that is being perpetrated by the romney campaign. they achieve medicare savings. we use some of those savings to strengthen medicare benefits, including providing improved access to services. they take the savings because they recognize that these are part of medicare. they are running a totally misleading hypocritical adds.
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cutting the picture, they are saying that they did not cut benefits. increasing benefits, which republicans cut, and not 10 years from now, now. >> you are right on target. why should we be subsidizing private insurance companies. >> thank you for the clarification. i have been saying part d. putin substitute c i said part d. and the other thing with medicare, it is a complicated program. you have part a, part b, part c, part d. part c, medicare advantage. it is not part d. these are complicated issues. and the romney campaign is
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taking advantage of this to confuse people, and that is shameful. >> a few weeks ago, a commissioner testified before the committee for the affordable care act. essentially, and i do not claim to have all of the details. he postulates in a somewhat unusual an unconventional role, and it is not certain. i think we would all agree that it is a 2000 page bill that is complex. are there ways that you can envision that the act may be made simpler or less complex? and what is the likelihood of that occurring after the november election? >> he is hoping that any
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constructive suggestion, this will fully kicked in in 2014. the reason the irs is part of this program is because you want to make sure that people can afford health care. it provides tax credits based on your income, so you go into these exchanges, these markets for health care insurance, very much like what federal employees and members of congress have. you go into these exchanges, you will qualify on your income for a tax credit, which would be administered by the irs. the other part is the same as what the romney massachusetts
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plan does. they probably turn to him and said, "you have a great plan in massachusetts." and most everyone in this room knows that this was initially a republican idea. therefore, everyone should take personal responsibility for the costs. otherwise, everybody else's taxes go up. take try to have everybody some responsibility, for those who need it, you would provide some tax credits, but it would
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bring down costs overall by creating an exchange, and this will also bring down the costs of medicare and health care system. there would be tax credits to make this more affordable. and the sec and wait for the romney plan, for those people now can afford health care but decide that they are going to free note on the system, there has to be some mechanism. it is a very mild penalty. it is patterned after that. >> with the leadership council. i was just curious, after the dust settles, there will be a
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lot of dust, i assume. do you think there would be an effort in congress to reform this, some of the shortfalls that they do anticipate this is where the doctors are reimbursed. doctors would face a significant cut. we have been dealing with this on an ad hoc basis. we need to put this on a sustainable long-term footing, so, yes, i hope we will address that. second, we should build upon the ideas of the affordable care act in terms of reducing the costs overall in the system.
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they are experimenting with improving the delivery of care for the medicare and medicaid programs. there are about 10% of the overall population, but this is about 30% of the costs, and this is between medicare and medicaid for providers, so there are opportunities for some to game the system. so rather than take the mitt romney/ryanair approach, to offer low costs on to seniors or dramatically cut medicaid, which, again is what they rely on and others, we should look for ways to eliminate these misaligned incentives, and there is much that can be done. some is underway. we can build upon these ideas.
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again, this is the fundamental difference between the proposal with what they put out, with the affordable care act this is putting those costs on the backs of seniors, who, by the way, have a median income of $23,000. the median income of a senior on medicare is $23,000. a good part of that $23,000 income comes from social security. so then i get back to the essential point about the totally unbalanced aspect, to get more for mitt romney and leave everybody else to pick up the bill. >> ok, well thank you very much.
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[applause] >> he articulates the positions of his party so well and so clear. these are issues that you can see, and you can see this in his presentation today. this is with the congressional candidates throughout the country. these are very, very important issues. i think you have to feel pretty
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good that we a people like chris van hollen studying these issues and trying to be objective as much as he can in try to find some resolution. and we look forward to having him back here again. it is good to see you all here again. >> thank you. thanks for having me. thanks for these introductions. >> i work on them. >> i can tell. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> you have support.
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>> there is so much information out there. so you are with the health care -- no, i am with -- >> this is quite a tradition. very nice. thank you. take care.
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>> great job. thank you so much for coming. you did a really nice job explaining everything today. i appreciate it. >> thank you. >> and thank you for coming. >> thank you very much. >> how are things going? >> [inaudible]
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>> thank you so much. [inaudible] that was wonderful. >> thank you. [inaudible] >> right. the ads against them. i agree. he lives in maryland. i did not believe he is in your district. >> no. >> thank you very much. >> it did such a very good job.
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-- you did such a very good job. [inaudible] >> under medicare, -- [inaudible] in the private market, these are -- [inaudible] >> they wanted to control all of these. >> there is a constant back-and- forth. the insurance plan and a position. the negotiation back-and-forth. in some parts of the country, you will have -- [inaudible]
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there are other areas. [inaudible] and a lot of competition. it is an issue with medicare. >> thank you. >> i did not want to monopolize the time. -- your time. >> i saw you on television this morning. >> thank you for coming.
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>> i saw you on tv. i am surprised he did not mention anything about the debt commission. >> i was thinking there might be a question on that. >> here it is. >> we put together a plan. it is a balanced approach. the cuts were terrible. the deficit reduction. >> had the handicapped it? it?ow do you handicapped >> they will not except one penny to help reduce the deficit. >> what is the probability of the automatic? >> we will have to see.
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hopefully the election -- republicans will have to take a balanced approach. >> thank you for coming. it is nice to me to. it did a good job. >> thank you, i appreciate that. >> i just wanted to tell you, -- [inaudible] i voted for you. >> thank you. >> can i take a picture? >> sure. >> i e-mailed him the question. now he is not going to have to answer it. thank you. >> i got it. >> he has got to go.
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thank you very much. >> thank you. >> i just want to mention, my daughter is a friend of one of your staffers. >> at the remember what staff member? -- do you remember what staff member? >> [inaudible] >> thank you a lot. what did i do with that pen? sherlock. [inaudible] >> it was very informative. that is the light side of it. it is a serious room. people have a tendency to try to simplify things to the point
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where it did not convey the importance. >> absolutely. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. >> take care. >> nice to meet you. we will follow up with your staff. >> that will be great. thank you. >> the republican national committee has released a schedule for the convention. this year, the keynote speaker will be chris christie. senator marco rubio of florida will deliver the introductions for presidential candidate mitt romney. we will have coverage of the republican and democratic national conventions here on c- span.
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>> tomorrow, the co-founder of no label talks about the making the presidency were campaign. it is to help whoever wins be more effective leader. an examination of for-profit colleges. steve gunderson will be a guest. later, a discussion on issues facing the self-employed in today's economy. we will hear from the president of the national association for the self employed. live, starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> i started as a copy boy at the new york times. i was in a training program after i got out of the army. >> this sunday, washington post columnist walter pincus talks about his various jobs, his
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views on spending, and his criticism of the defense department spending. >> the build a facility for 40 people. it has rooms for everybody. if he spent four million dollars on an elementary school, it would raise questions. >> more, sunday night at 8:00. >> the former co-chair of the 2008 a bomb a presidential campaign, -- the 2008 obama presidential campaign, artur davis, held a press conference. artur davis defended the ryan budget proposal, saying the plan does not affect anyone on medicare right now. while president obama's health-
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care law is being financed. this is about 20 minutes. >> good afternoon. welcome to the number won the battle ground state in the country, of virginia. not north carolina. [applause] yesterday, i spent the day in southwest virginia. i had every anticipation of providing the republican policy response to vice president biden's statements. never in a million years did i think that i would have to address the kind of disappointing language that came out of him yesterday. let's remind you. it is 2012. who talks like that?
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what decent person, let alone sitting vice-president, speaks like that? i find it very ironic that four years ago candidates obama spoke about how he did not want to make a big election about small things. he promised millions of americans and hundreds and thousands of virginians hope and change. he promised to be able to change the tone of the way we conduct our government. four years later we have the most partisan rhetoric. the past three weeks, president
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obama and vice president biden and their allies have accused their political opponents of being felons, part of a murder, and lastly, and despicable way, trying to put large swaths of america back in "chains." it is disappointing. it is despicable. it goes on. the obama campaign at a chicago -- out of chicago is focused on trying to tear down and attack congressman ryan and the bipartisan ryan budget. the high-minded, forward leaning policies of the romney-ryan ticket. there is only one candidate,
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only one, who has made it a plan and part of actual law to get medicaid. to get medicaid by over $700 billion. that is president obama. to give more perspective on what exactly the president has been up to, and talk in depth about medicaid, i want to hand it over to someone who knows candidate obama very well. someone who served as a co- chair of obama for america in 2008. someone who also served alongside congressman paul ryan. it is with great pleasure i introduce congressman artur davis. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, thank
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you very much. thank you. i am so unaccustomed to clapping, think i am lost. thank you so much to your comments. the two people who are quarterback in the virginia campaign are the lady in the back we will have a chance to meet later and a gentleman who spoke before me. we are so glad that what they do. make sure you know them. i want to expand on your observations by putting this conversation in context. anytime you become a candidate for office, any time you organize a campaign, you have a choice to make. about how you discuss the issues and have you discussed your opponent. you can aim high, or you can
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aim at our fears. you can choose to breed is there hope or cynicism -- either hope or cynicism. if you think what i said sounds familiar, it should, all i am saying is something that barack obama said in 2004 when he came on to the scene. all i am doing is repeating the way barack obama talked about politics. all over america in the course of 2008. cynicism or hope. some powerful inside. if only it had survived senator obama becoming president obama. i want to give it some examples of what i mean. when the obama campaign claims
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that seniors will have their medicare, and for some of you, your medicare, ripped away from you, how many times have we heard that? that they are going to take medicare away from you. they being the republicans. when the obama campaign pedals that message, they know full well that the ryan plan does not affect anyone in america on medicare right now or anyone under 54. when they spread a message, the kind they have spread. they are breeding cynicism. when the campaign savages the congressman who has served with for eight years and governor romney in says that they are the ones who will weaken medicare with cuts and reductions, and
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they know full well that they financed their health-care law 70% of the way with cuts in medicare. 70% of hal obamacare is paid for is cuts in medicare that affect those of you who are seniors today. not in the future, not down the horizon, but right now. the obama campaign says that the romney-ryan ticket will debilitate medicare, they know how they pay for their program, they are breeding cynicism. let me be blunt. when the obama campaign weakens medicare without changes, and they know full well that every neutral expert in this country says a train wreck is coming with respect to medicare, if we do not act now.
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the obama campaign is breeding cynicism and not go. -- hope. the cynicism did not start this week. you may think it started with the moment he walked to the stage. he joined the ticket on saturday. it did not start then. it started in the spring of 2011 when president obama went to one of the leading universities and appeared to do congressman ryan the gesture of courtesy by inviting him to come. he sat him in the front row. for those of you who have been to a baptist church, the front row is a big deal. [laughter] after putting the man in the front row, sang to him, come and join me so we can talk about how to build bridges. he looks at him and the lectures m. -- and lectures him that he
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was not being a good american. that his plan fell short of american values. as pete snyder alluded, cynicism did not start with medicare. you saw in a shameless added that saw to make political profit of of a woman's death. an advertisement shows ceramists -- so shameless that the democratic former senator who was nearly selected as barack obama's running mate has denounced it and said the democrats ought to distance themselves from it. as pete snyder found dead yesterday, senate -- found out yesterday, the cynicism will not stop. you have all seen the tape. the vice president of our country standing in front of the
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crowd that was at least 50% african-american, looking at goingnd sangying, they are to puy y'all back in chains. i've spoken to a few african- american audiences in my day. every african american in that audience knew who the "y'all" was. and they knew what buttons he was trying to push. interestingly, politicians are funny when they get caught, when people heard vice president biden's comments the obama campaign has been in backpedal mode for the last so many hours. they said, he was talking about
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economic times. politicians talk about change all the time. -- chains all the time. they are adding an insult to our intelligence. people knew what the vice president meant. it is to the credit of the african americans in that room that if you watch the tape, you do not hear a lot of applause when he made his comments. you hear what appears to be some boos. to the credit of the people there, they understood him very well. they rejected what they heard. it does not lift him up, it lifts them up. as i bring our last guest forward, i want to end with
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this. chicago does not plan to stop the cynicism. the white house does not plan to stop the cynicism. you know why? they think it will work. if you ran four years ago and told conservative voters in virginia and north carolina you were going to cut the deficit in half and you submitted four $1 trillion a year budgets, if you promised that unemployment was going to be at 7.5% and unemployment has been over 8% for 43 consecutive months, if you promise to bring the country together and it is more divided than ever, if everything you promised turned upside down, you might try some dividing too. you know what the shame of it is? how many of us believed four
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years ago that barack obama was not just a politician? how many americans invested their hope that he was more and that his presidency would mean more? we may not have the power to stop it, they will run the campaign the way they want. the american people have the power to punish it. they can punish it by saying, if i can put the president, not this time. thank you all. [applause] >> good afternoon. i am a small business person in northern virginia. i am not here today as a business person. i have come full face forward
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with medicare. a few weeks ago i brought my sister, who is 65 years old, appears so i could help with her care. i am paying attention. she is 65. she was a brilliant high school's teacher. the rest of her years will depend on medicare's help. because of her bipolar, her heart disease, and also some early dementia, she needs a lot of medicine. she needs good care. that is important for her. with those things, she does find. now that i am paying attention to obamacare and to the affordable care act, reading some of the nonpartisan reports about where the money is coming from to fund the affordable care act, it worries me. she needs this care.
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i understand from the russian proposal that she, at 65, and meet -- from the ryan proposal that she, at 65, and me will not be affected. this is very important to me. it is very important to judy. it is important to all of us out there who have already moved into that crowd. pay attention. i did not until a week and a half ago. it is important. i hope everyone will pay attention to the differences between the affordable care act, the cuts to medicare. thank you for your time. i think now we will take questions. [applause] >> questions? >> how can doctors keep working
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to treat people on medicare when medicare does not pay their bills and will be less able to pay their bills with what obamacare is doing to the system? >> you ask a very important question. i say that not to flood the. you put your finger on something that most people missed about it affordable care act. the affordable care at is around eight trillion dollars. 70% of it, other 60% of it is paid for by cutting medicare. let me say that again, they paid for an act that most of the american people did not want and that most seniors did not want by taking money out of today's medicare pot.
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every doctor who services a medicare population knows it. to your point, doctors, the good doctors all over northern virginia, all over this state, they are no longer participating in the medicare program because, this is something we missed -- how do they cut medicare? the administration said, we are making changes. we are instituting savings and cost cutting provisions. that sounds good. the saving in the cost-cutting provision is they took money out of the medicare pot that goes to doctors. i remember people and my old party who would say, we are not cutting medicare, we are cutting money going to the rich doctors. what do they think happens when you cut the fees to doctors? they stop providing services.
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in addition to doctors, he made that decision because every doctor is a small business person. this commission that was appointed, that the democrats did not want to talk about, they appointed a commission that nobody can tell you who is on it. they do not have public meetings. the administration loves to brag about transparency. i want to put this commission on c-span. the commission gets to decide procedure by procedure where the cuts ought to happen. with congress having no say. with you having no say. the doctors having no say. it is bad business for the country. it is difficult business for doctors. you put your finger on something a lot of people have
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missed. make this the last question. >> what are the chances of turning this around? >> sometimes, we are not in washington, d.c. when you get a run the air in washington, d.c., you hear that president cannot get anything done. it is tough being president. when you are president, people start being mean to you. you would almost think that this separation of powers was a partisan trick invented four years ago.
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leaders do matter if leaders can summon the country to follow them. is this not the first president we have seen in our lifetimes who has not one time on one issue figured out how to work with the other side? of all the proposals that past, not one time did he figure out how to bring any republicans into his tent. kennedy and johnson and clinton and carter and bush and bush and reagan all figured it out. it is hard, but it cannot be that hard. i think they can fix it. let me tell you one thing about congressman ryan, i did serve with him for eight years. congressman ryan and the time he spent in public life, he has
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accomplished more than anyone in his generation. president obama was in public life for roughly 12 years. paul ryan has been in public life for 14 years. barack obama wrote two books. paul ryan crafted a document that has become the signature document on budget reduction in this country. he is not a chairman. he does not have any special status. his leadership record shows me that a leader with talent and ability and a commitment to getting things done can make things happen. that is governor romney's story too. if you can run the massachusetts
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and you are republican you have proved it can run anything. [laughter] >> thank you very much. thank you for coming out. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> the republican national committee has released a scandal. this year, the keynote speaker will be chris christie. senator mark rubio will deliver the introduction. we will have coverage here on c- span. >> tomorrow, the co-founder of no labels talks about his organization's new campaign. it aims to help whoever wins of this be a more effective leader. then an examination of for-
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profit colleges. steve gunderson will be our guest. later, a discussion on issues facing the self-employed in today's economy. we will hear from the president of the national association for the self-employed. live, starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. this weekend on book tv, in "who's counting?," the authors say they are serious problems with fraud. >> there are a whole series of things you have to do to make sure you have an election with integrity. that everyone is confident the person with the most votes is declared winner. >> we talked about the largest
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bank failure in u.s. history, the collapse of washington mutual. part of our book to the weekend on c-span to. >> president obama and michelle obama stop in iowa on the last day of a campaign bus tour. the president has toward the state from west to east, making five stops. later in the day, the president and first lady held another rally. this is 45 minutes. ♪ ♪
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♪ >> thank you, guys. oh, my goodness. [applause] oh, my goodness. this is so sweet. we love you guys, too.
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let me start by -- four more. [applause] i want to start by thanking jennifer for -- we are so proud of her, and we are so grateful for her sacrifice and service, and for andrew service and sacrifice as well. i just want to thank her for the wonderful introduction and for all she is doing for her country. yeah, it sounds like you all are pretty fired up. and very ready to go. and i am really glad to hear that. first of all, it is good to see my husband. i have not seen him in a good
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week. >> 5 days. >> seemed like a week. it was so long. but i am just as happy to be back in the great state of iowa where it all began. [applause] you guys are getting me all fired up just being here. it is so beautiful here. good to be back. our family has so many wonderful memories of our time here in iowa. in pella i remember an entire neighborhood sang happy birthday to melia. on the day of the big and jefferson/jackson dinner, i remember how we danced down the streets.
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a few thousand folks across the state as well were there as well. that was fun. our girls still talk about our visit to this day there. we had a ball. we rode the bomb for cars, slid down the big slide. barack almost lost sasha. it was not pretty. was not happy about that. yes, we experience the magic of our first fried twinkie, even though you say i do not let you eat them. you eat what you want. [laughter] we were surrounded by the press. so barack left and the girls that i am so glad he is gone, now we can have fun. after he left, we stayed until the fair shut down. it was a ball.
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i have to say, we are all very jealous that he got to go back to the fair without us last week. did you have a fried twinkie? >> pork chop and beer. [applause] >> he is so pleased with himself. in all seriousness though, because of those wonderful memories and some anymore, i want to start by saying thank you, truly. thank you for the kindness, generosity, and love you have shown our family. throughout the state, consistently. [applause] iowa was a very first experience with our national campaign, truly. it is because of all of you that our daughters still think
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campaigning is fun. [laughter] they do. they never really want to go, but there were like that was fun. more importantly, because of you, we will always remember what this process can be at its very best. every election that you all remind us what democracy is all about. it is about people getting to know the issues and discussing them with their neighbors. it is about meeting your candidates and getting to know them and their families up close and personal. i will never forget the very first visit that i made here back in 2007. i'd think it was the very first campaign event that i did, so i was nervous. it was in the backyard of someone's home. i have to admit, i really did not know what it would be like. i have not done much campaigning.
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back then the people barely even knew who barack was, let alone who i was. the folks in the backyard welcomed me like an old friend. within minutes i was so grumbled that i remember kicking off my heels, and i was standing barefoot in the grass talking and laughing and listening to people's stories. i heard about what was going on in people's lives. the jobs they were struggling and businesses there were trying to keep afloat. the kids they hoped to send to college if they could find a way to afford it. and the more we talked, the more i learned that and all of the stories i saw my story. i saw barack's story. my father worked at the city water plant all his life, in either one of my parents had a college degree, but they saved and sacrifice some my brother
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and i could have the kind of education they only dreamed of. whitney young -- that is my high school. go dolphins. while pretty much all of our college tuition came from student loans and grants, my dad still have to pay a small portion of that tuition himself. every semester my dad was determined to pay his small portion of pay and on time, because he was so proud to be able to play a little part in sending his kids to college that he could not bear the thought that me or my brother would miss a registration deadline because his truck was late. really more than anything else i remind people that is what is at stake in this election. this is what we're all working for, the fundamental promise that no matter who you are or
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where you started out in america if you work hard, you could build a decent life for yourself and even better life for your kids. [applause] that is why we are here. and whether it is equal pay for women or health care for our families. whether it is supporting our veterans or saving our auto industry, that is what this man, my husband, has been fighting for every single day as president. [applause] the one thing i share with people is that over the past 3.5 years as first lady, i have had the chance to see up close and personal what being president really looks like. i have seen some things. [laughter] but seriously, i have seen how the issues that come across the president's desk are always the
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hard ones. the problems with no clear solutions, a judgment calls were the stakes are so high, and there is absolutely no margin for error. as president i have seen how you will get advice and opinions from all sorts of people, but the truth is at the end of the day, as president all you have to guide you are your values and your vision and your life experiences. in the end, it all boils down to who you are and what you stand for. [applause] we all know who my husband is. don't we? we all know what he stands for. the son of a single mother who struggled to put herself through school and pay the bills. the grandson of a woman who broke -- woke up before dawn every day to catch a bus to a job at the bank. even though his grandmother worked hard to help support the
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family and good at her job, like so many women she hit the glass ceiling and watched men no more qualified than she, men she had actually trained climb up the ladder ahead of her. what i remind people is your president knows what it means when the family struggles. this is not a hypothetical situation for him. he knows what it means to want something better for your kids and grandkids. [applause] that is why i love him. that is why i married him, and that is what i think about every night when i put the girls to bed. sometimes they put me to bed. because i cannot stay up later than them anymore. i think about the world i want to leave for them. i think about how i want to give our kids that foundation for their dreams. you know, opportunities for the
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of their promise, because all of our children in this country are worthy. we all want to work to give them that sense of limitless possibility, that believe that here in america, the greatest country on earth, there is always something better out there if your willing to work for it. we know we cannot turn back now. we have come so far, but we have so much more work to do. if we keep moving forward, then we need to work our hearts out for the man that i have the pleasure of introducing, my husband and our president, president barack obama. [applause] [cheers and applause] >> hello, dubuque.
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thank you. how is everyone doing today? now, first of all, i just want to thanks jennifer for not just her introduction, but for serving as the military spouse and championing of the causes that are still in port for some in the military families like hers. please give her another round of applause. thank you. thank you for everything you do. very proud of her. [applause] i also want to acknowledge sitting next to jennifer is congressman bruce brailey to help to get the bill that jennifer had worked on based on
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her experience with andrew passed, and i have the honor of signing into law. doing a great job on behalf of our veterans. and on behalf of the working people here in iowa. [applause] a couple of other friends were here, your own attorney general. the skies supported me when no one could pronounced my name. -- this guy supported me when no one could pronounced by name. [laughter] he is a man of great integrity. a champion on behalf of consumers nationwide, as well as here in iowa. give him a big round of applause. [applause] also, your own mayor. give him a big round of applause. [applause] and finally, my wife.
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and [cheers and applause] it is true i have not seen her in five days. except i caught the end of "leno." [laughter] the only reason that she, i think, is happy to see me because she knows that after today she gets to go tomorrow and get our girls from sleep away camp, and she has been missing them terribly. we stand in the way of her getting to her babies. [laughter] but i have to tell you, when i stand here and listen to her, i am just reminded how lucky i am, because she is a woman of strength and integrity and honor.
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she keeps me straight every single day. she is the best mom in the world, and she is cute. [laughter] and the problem is sometimes when i listen to her talk i start choking up and forget what i am going to say. but i could not be prouder of her, and i say often, back in 2008 i said i am not a perfect man and will not be a perfect president. i do think she's the perfect first lady. i want you to know that. [cheers and applause] now, this is our third day in iowa. she is right, we have been traveling all across the state. we did stop at the state fair.
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we stopped to get something to eat before she showed up, just so there was not any issues. smart man. [laughter] we began the journey in council bluffs. just like four years ago we traveled all across the state. west to east, meeting with you and talking about your lives. we are driven through boone, des moines, waterloo, cedar rapids. we of met farmers that have been badly hurt by droughts and now need to pass the farm bill. we met folks -- [applause] we met folks who helped iowa become a leader in wind energy, and now we need -- they need us to keep investing in clean, renewable energy. [applause] this morning i had breakfast
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with some of our outstanding veterans who fought under our proud flag. so now we need to serve them just as well as they have served us. and make sure that they have got new jobs and new opportunities and our roof over their heads when they come home. every stop i have fond memories of the last campaign, the campaign we have four years ago. every stop i have gone reminders of what makes iowa so special, and how this is where our movement for change happened. [applause] it was because of you. it was because of your stories and your strength and your spirit that i had the strength and spirit to go through that campaign. it is because of you i have had this thing to do the job over the past four years.
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notve to tell you, we're done yet. we have some unfinished business to do. [applause] i have come here to ask you to stand with me, just like you stood with me in 2008. to finish what we started. because less than three months from now you will face a choice, and that jurors could not be bigger. -- that choice would not be bigger. this is not just a choice between two candidates or to political parties. this is a choice about two fundamentally different visions for our country, how we move the country forward and the direction that you choose when you walk into the voting booth will have an impact, not just on your lives, but on the lives of your children and the lives of your grandchildren. it will impact us for decades to come.
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you know, when we came together in 2008, and it was not just democrats. we have independence and some republicans, too, it was to restore the basic bargain that built this country. the basic bargain that made us the most prosperous economy in the world. a bargain that says if we work hard, we should be rewarded. it is a deal that says if you put in enough effort, you can find a job that pays the bills. you can afford a home you call your own. it will not go broke when you get sick. you can retire with dignity and respect. [applause] most of all, it is a bargain that says your kids will get a great education, and they will grow up safe and healthy and have opportunities that you
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could not even dream of. that they will be able to achieve things that you could only hope for. that is the basic promise of america. that is the american dream. we knew that restoring it would not be easy, that it would take more than one year or one term or even one president, because we had just gone through a decade in which the middle class have been taking a lot of hits. jobs had been getting shipped overseas. incomes and wages were flat or even going down while the cost of everything from health care to college were going up. a few folks at the top for doing really well, but the average family was struggling. this was before, before we saw the worst financial crisis since the great depression and so many more of our friends and neighbors and family members
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lost their jobs and homes and savings and push that american dream even further out of reach. so when i ran for this office four years ago i told you there were no quick fixes, no easy solutions. that is still true today, but what i also told you in what is still true today is that we have the capacity to meet every challenge. we have everything we need to meet our challenges. we still have the best workers and the world. we still have the best entrepreneurialism and small men and businesswomen in the world. we have the best scientists and researchers in the world. with the best farmers in the world, as colleges and universities in the world. [applause] we are still a young nation. we have the greatest diversity
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of talent and ingenuity. people want to come here from every corner of the globe. no matter what they say, no matter how dark the other side tries to paint things, there is not another country on earth that would not gladly change places with the united states of america. [applause] because people understand that even though we go through some tough times, there is the resilience and great about this country, in this country is the place where if you are willing to work hard, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from and what your last name is, you can make it. that is the idea that we were trying to rebuild in 2008. that is the idea that we continue to pursue and 2012. that is what this campaign is all about, and that is why i am running for a second term of -- for president of the united
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states. [applause] [crowd chanting "four more years."] we do have one problem, politics in washington. do have the other side, which is the side where compromise is a dirty word and thinks the only way to move forward is to go backwards to the same top- down economics that got us into this mess in the first place. you know, governor mitt romney chose his running mate this week. congressman ryan. no, no, no. i know him. he is a good man. beautiful family.
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he is the ideological leader of the republican of congress. he is an articulate spokesperson for the vision. i just happen to fundamentally disagree with his vision. [applause] their vision is warm -- wrong for working families and wrong for the country. my opponent and friends in congress believe you just get rid of more regulations on big corporations and big banks, and then you give more tax breaks to the wealthiest americans, that that will automatically lead to jobs and prosperity for ordinary americans. i am not exaggerating, that is their basic economic plan. the centerpiece of governor ronnie's plan is a new five trillion dollar tax cut. a lot of it will go to the wealthiest americans.
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keep in mind, 5 trillion dollars is a lot of money, even in washington. our entire defense budget is a little over half a trillion dollars a year. a blend of the entire defense budget and tax cuts. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012]
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at their worst. they were speaking at an event co-hosted by the middle east institute. this is an hour and a half. >> good afternoon, my name's daniel serwer and it's a pleasure to invite you to this
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middle east discussion on the nuclear issue on the year ahead. i find this a remarkably clear straightforward and very useful analysis of the situation. one that avoids any of the pitfalls of the journalistic treatment of this issue in washington today. it's a particular pleasure that i was asked to moderate this pan panel. if i have any qualifications for that role, it is not actually my time at the u.s. institute of peace, which is displayed in the biographies. but rather that i spent seven years abroad as a science counselor and american embassies preventing technology from going to proliferators in three years
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managing one of the energy offices in the state department. we have a wonderful panel today that includes the two principle authors of the report. as well as a contributor to the report and who will be commenting. it's not my habit to do buy graphical introductions because after all, you have them in writing, and you can read them at your leizure. but i like to say something striking about each of our speakers. and for allen, i read his biohere, and i said to myself, what you really need to know about allen is his post in the foreign service. yemen, riyhad, baghdad, beirut,
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not a bad representation of arabic speaking characters, let's put it that way. i know allen from our service together in intelligence and research. geneve abdu i have not known well, when i asked her what i might emphasize in this context, she offered me something that's not in the bio so i will cite that. a book from 2003 called answering only to god, faith and freedom in the 21st century iran. i think it is particularly relevant to the issues that we have to discuss today. but you can read her distinguished background as a journalist, as a u.n. official. geneve comes to us amply well
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prepared. unfortunately, we are going to miss melissa maylee who is ill today, but we have robi barrett to finish up. i can't say i know robi well, but we sat together in a number of meetings. when you're in a meeting with robi barrett, you're going to know what he thinks about things. and he has a particularly incisive way and brutally honest way of dealing with military issues and gulf issues for which have been real focus for him over the years. without further ado, i'll ask allen to do the initial presentation of the report. allen?
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>> when i was in the department of state, i described myself as being the deputy assistant secretary for miscreants, iraq, iran. fortunately some of them have become the good guys. i feel a little bit like the head of the corps of engineers who newly appointed was reluctant to make a public speech. however, he saved up his energy until he was invited to speak on floods. he thought this was a topic to which he could do justice. and he did well, until he got to the question of noah in the audience. i recognize noah out there. let me move on. i would like to do two things today, the first is to summarize
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the report's key judgments overall with, a little bit of fill-in on israel, since melissa can't make it. and then my second part is to talk about the u.s. perceptions and perspectives on the iran negotiations on the nuclear issue. first of all, in this short run, dealing with diplomacy, there are two points i would like to make. the negotiations are stalemated and likely to remaining that way, at least until the elections. in the longer term, there are margins for negotiation, and i will turn to that a bit later. on iran, i would like to come forth with our key judgment, which it is not to say -- it is not clear to what extent iran is committed to a diplomatic outcome. while sanctions exact a significant toll, they seem
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unlikely to force agreement because iran is prepared to hunker down as necessary. and then in addition to this, therefore, both strategic pressure and diplomatic inducements are very important. and geneve will expand on the iranian position. on israel, without sufficient diplomatic progress, there was an uncomfortably real possibility of israeli military action because of the israeli perceptions of existential threat. i think since melissa isn't here, i would like to read a few sentences that i think express her points of view. this expert, melissa, focused on the military option because this is where we truly are in the israeli view. the debate, does israel have the capacity to hit and destroy the
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known nuclear infrastructure. would the unknown sites sustain nuclear program after attack. how would the iranians respond? i think the news over the weekend confirms that judgment. she concluded it would be a serious mistake to dismiss the possibility of an israeli unilateral attack. netanyahu was a confident leader who thinks he can do what he wants despite u.s. opposition. now, lest you think at any group at mei has consensus, i have to read the next paragraph too. a commentator differed from the expert by depositing that netanyahu's statements are at least in part intended to press the u.s. to take a hardline stance and to scare the iranians into concession. he given israel's military capabilities he judged there is more elasticity than one would
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surmise in netanyahu's remarks. so i think this is a fair representation. i would like to go on and make another comment about our key judgments on the gcc states. the gcc has unprecedented unity in response to the fears of the iranian -- fears of iranian pretensions in the gulf. we think it likely will hold. still there are nuances among the gcc states and they may not fully be aware of the extent to which they risk iranian retribution. robi will expand on this. what are the conclusions of the report? we think the next year will mark a turning point in the u.s./iran relations on nuclear issues. without progress toward a nuclear settlement, the trajectories of the u.s., israel, iran, though they are not settled could lead to
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military confrontation. i'd like to go on and talk more about why we've reached these conclusions. what is the current situation? the add ming station has a two-track policy of engagement and pressure. and in the last two years engagement has largely taken the form of negotiations, and the pressure of sanctions, what one might call active measures. obama has made clear that all options are on the table with one exception. and that exception is containment. and the u.s. -- and he's made clear the u.s. red line is it moves by iran to actually weaponize to nuclear capabilities. its nuclear capabilities would cross them.
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in the short term, we think, therefore, that the prospects for any movement is not great, particularly before the u.s. elections. the situation is, the p-5 plus one has asked for suspension of enrichment. and the third con condition is cessation of work at the heavily fortified saedou. iran's response has been, should we say whimperingly low, and they have issued such a small deal, and presented in the words of one negotiator, grand ideas and issues that are centered on acknowledgement of its rights to enrich, and a lifting of
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sanctions. from the u.s. point of view, any such broad deal is again in the words of a conference analyst, the end game. and from the u.s. point of view, we are not even in the game yet. we have a de facto suspension of talks because of the west's willingness to wait for the full effect of sanctions to come into play. and because the iranians insistence on assurances about their right to enrich early on. we think the prospects were extended diplomacy are better. once the elections are over, a second obama administration could be in a position to consider a broader deal, and the iranians may have sufficiently felt the effect of sanctions to be willing to negotiate on specific steps. one proposal is an acknowledgement of iran's right to enrich, to a limited degree, three and a half to five percent in return for iranian acceptance
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of stringent monitoring and inspections. there has not been "a full throated discussion" in this administration, according to a former administration official. there are negatives to this idea. any acknowledgement of iran's right to enrich would aggravate israel's sensitivities, alienate u.s. supporters of israel, and allow republicans to accuse the president of being soft on iran. these risks are not acceptable to the administration in the pre-election period. whether they would be acceptable later depends on whether the downsides can be mitigated especially in the view of israel. and two, prospects for an arrangement -- prospects that such arrangements could actually lead to stem iranian nuclear development. but if there's a romney victory,
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the specific nature of romney's policies still remain largely speculative, and extrapolation from his generally hardline position on iran. if the usual patterns prevail, probably the new president would prefer to focus on appointments, organization, and campaign priorities that events could alter that paradigm. whatever the administration is in power, the prerequisites for a successful diplomacy include first establishing a framework for regular negotiations and to broaden discussions beyond the nuclear issue. to establish a private u.s. iran channel to discuss bilateral issues. and these are points on which we could make progress now. another is the preservation of p-5 plus one solidarity. and on that, so far, solidarity has been strong, the prospects
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are uncertain while russia and iran have cooperated under u.s. leadership, they do not fear the consequences of nuclear iran to the extent the u.s. does. and there are growing differences over syria and other issues that could impair unity. another possibility out there is crippling sanctions. administration officials describe this as truly crippling sanctions. and is proposing in congress that they expand sanctions to a wide range of iranian exports and imports, much like the sanctions now on the central bank of iran. they have down sides. such sanctions might find limited support abroad, hurt the iranian people with little effect on iranian decision makers. and offer no guarantee they would be a prelude to a popular based overthrow of the government. moreover, a certain level of iranian oil exports must be
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preserved to maintain stability and international energy markets. i would like to sum up and tell you why the group came out. there was easy agreement that the best scenario is diplomacy. there was sharp disagreement as to whether diplomacy has a decent chance of succeeding. one group argued, the iranians would not dismantle the nuclear program, unless the very existence of the islamic republic is at stake. the israelis see iran with even the capacity to produce nuclear weapons as an existential threat that they will not tolerate. three, the united states has stated it will not allow iran to develop nuclear weapons. and four, the leading gulf states are adamant in their opposition to iran's pretensions in the gulf.
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given these trajectories, their conclusion is potential for military confrontation over the iran nuclear program is high. another rule did not deny the significant risks for military confrontation, but believes the real margin -- that real margins for diplomacy still exist. a deal that would allow iran the right to enrich with stringent safeguards and strict monitoring could be possible later. the margins for negotiation include the fact first the iranians certainly do not want war on their territory. two, the israelis best option is not to go it alone. but with at least u.s. support. third, the u.s. profoundly does not want another war on the heels of the ones in iraq and afghanistan. and four, the world's fragile
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economy would suffer yet another severe blow. in the end there was common ground. it was a realistic view of possible hostilities while acknowledging that there is time for a redoubling of efforts on the diplomatic front, including staving off military action in the near term. keeping the negotiations open, moving toward at least discussion of enrichment issue at some point soon. this was probably soon after the u.s. elections. establishing a second track where nonnuclear issues could be discussed. and making clear to the iranians what has to be done for sanctions to be lifted. very to say, one of my tasks as a diplomat was to find the areas of agreement in this group.
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>> good afternoon. hello, everyone. as allen explained i hope we all don't become representative when we've all finished speaking. my specific remarks are going to be focused on how iran views the issue and its role in the region. it's important to place in context, where iran was in 2003, when it was willing to negotiate with the united states over afghanistan. and it was not only 2003. but there were a few years between 2003 and 2005 when, in fact, the ayatollah sent a
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letter to then president bush through the former swiss ambassador in iran in an attempt to reach the kind of breakthrough that we're trying to reach with iran now. and so i think that in explaining what has changed, unfortunately, we can grasp how sort of gloomy the picture is going-forward over the next year. even if we set the minimal goal of simply a trust building exercise with the nuclear neck other yagss without even assuming that a breakthrough could be reached, iran now is not in favor of establishing any sort of trust with the united states because the way -- because of the way it's viewed over the -- the last several years in the region and also, u.s. policies. iran, in fact, is convinced that
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the ultimate goal of the united states is regime change, and that the nuclear issue, regional issues over syria, the united states activities in afghanistan and iraq that all of this was meant to undermine the islamic republic. and this is the way that iran views -- or the regime views the united states intentions. so i think that unlike 2003, we're a long way now from convincing iran that this exercise of nuclear talks is to build trust. and i also want to be specific. i don't mean to generalize about the iranian regime, because i think it's a mistake to generalize. i'm speaking specifically about supreme leader homenae and the 20 or so people that help him reach decisions on issues.
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if it were -- if mohammed hotama pe were president right now, we wouldn't be having these discussions. political personalities do make a difference. the elites around hotamae think differently than some of the others we've seen come to power in the last 33 years. in a way, this is -- this belief that the united states objective for regime change is a self-fulfilling prophecy, he's believed this since the founding of the islamic republic, and he continues to reiterate this belief. he said the animosity of these arrogant nations returns to the principles of the system. they try to make their issue with the iranian nation seem as if it's founded on human rights and the nuclear issue.
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he says, but, of course, it's not. it's founded on regime change. have you to ask, well, why would he believe this? well, if you read the -- you know, the american media every day as the iranians do, and they follow the media very closely, every day there are statements coming out of people in congress, there are statements from -- particularly the republican candidate running for president, that we need to launch a military attack on iran. if you're sitting in iran and you're ayatollah homanae why wouldn't you think the goal is regime change. iran no longer continues to hide its nonconventional mines in the region, in iraq, afghanistan and now in syria. as we have seen the revoluti revolutionary guards both in iraq and now in syria, become very active, the iranians have taken a very direct policy toward their intervention
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wreathly. another significant change that has happened not since 2003, but over a long period of time. is that iran's educated middle class, the middle class elites, which were once the basis for the reformist movement have been completely marginalized. and this is the iranian -- the sector of iranian society that is actually very favorable toward americans in the united states. they want iran to cease being a pariah state. and they -- when they had political power, they were those within the regime that were looking for some sort of -- a way to break three decades of hostility. even former president rasamjani came out and stated that there should be a breakthrough on the nuclear issue. other reformists recently, including a man by the name of abdullah nuri have come out and stressed the need for a settlement.
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however, those voices have now been silenced in iran. they're no longer politically relevant. and this is something that's changed dramatically. another thing that's changed since 2009 is the mass movement for democratic movement in iran. we've seen the regime has completely triumphed over the opposition in iran, unfortunately. so the voices that could put pressure on the regime, whether it comes from mass society or within the system, for some sort of breakthrough with the west are no longer active and no longer have influence. and i think that the -- i was reading just this morning, an article on foreign affairs by michael haddine, let's forget about the nuclear issue, because a democrat ic run is about to come.
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those parallels should not be made, because we're dealing with a completely different kind of authoritarian state. and we're dealing with a different kind of political culture, you don't have the kind of advancement of civil society in iran that you had in egypt, that you had in tunisia, that kind of civil society does not exist in iran. another thing that has changed dramatically since 2003 is the rise of the revolutionary guards in iran, and the political and longstanding economic power that they have built in the country with assistance. the revolutionary guards it can be argued their position for the united states, is similar to homanae's, although it could be argued they stand the most to lose from sanctions because of their great economic interests in iran and abroad and their investme investments, nonetheless, for some it would serve their interest if there were a military attack on iran, it
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would reaffirm their long held positions about the united states. and their ideological positions about the united states. i think that specifically as allen mentioned, we're also not very hopeful on the specific points regarding the nuclear negotiations. before the negotiations, this summer, there were many who argued such as former iranian ambassador that if the united states and the p-5 plus one would offer iran reduced enrichment at 3.5 to 5% this could be the point that seals the deal. unfortunately, iran now -- although they had been talking about reducing enrichment a few years ago, they are no longer -- there's no longer any movement on that issue. iran is also no longer entertaining the idea of shipping out its uranium as allen mentioned. making an easy case for israel that iran has now entered what
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they call the zone of immunity. and that is -- the reason that the -- that there's so much discussion now, one of the many reasons of a unilateral military attack on iran, is that the israelis are convinced that iran has reached nuclear capability. even if the political decision has not been made to build a nuclear bomb. and so asny continue to enrich uranium at 20%. this gives validity to the israeli argument of iran's intentions. this was not the case a few years ago. prime minister netanyahu and his top ministers said that -- declared that the united states and the west should officially announce that the nuclear negotiations have failed. so you can see how the way is being paved for there to appear that all options have been eliminated. when i was in israel in march,
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even then -- even during that time, which was a lot less tense than now, it was clear to me in the meetings i had with israeli officials and the national security council and foreign ministry that even though they don't -- their position toward iran is much more new answered and much more -- i would say profound, they have an understanding of iranian politics, their conclusion is still the same, which is that iran must be stopped before it is nuclear capable. iran has also asked for all sanctions to be lifted before there is any real serious talks on the nuclear issue. as allen mentioned, that's highly unlikely that sanctions would be lifted. so i think that for all these reasons, it is clear that iran is interested in prolonging the diplomatic process, but not
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necessarily reaching a breakthrough. both sides, both the united states and iran have a reason to prolong the diplomatic process. president obama doesn't want any sort of unilateral attack on israel on iran before the presidential election. and the iranians want to buy time. they want to buy time until there is perhaps some unpredictable event that occurs that would allow the diplomatic process to go forward. even though all parties realize there's unlikely to be any sort of concrete breakthrough. i think the other issue that has changed dramatically is politics both in israel and the united states. and i think that we'll be discussing this further in the q & a. thank you very much. >> thank you. before i give the podium to robi, i'd love a standing room only crowd, but there are a few seats up front.
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you're more than welcome to come down and take them, if -- don't be shy. robi? >> i must say i like the introduction. i think i'm going to put it on the back of my next book. i'm going to talk a little bit about the gulf, a little bit about what i call diplomacy and war and the situation in the gulf with iran, i'll touch a little bit on israel and the policy i see, the short term fallout i think we'll be looking at the next six to nine months. i agree with geneive's analysis of where the iranians are. and i would add that if you put yourself in the position of
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homonae or the revolutionary guard, and you look at the current situation and evaluate your interest, i think that leads you to the conclusion that they are pressing ahead with the nuclear program, and not really interested in negotiation. and that's looking at it from an iranian perspective. think of it from there. with that as a backdrop. i want to talk about the gulf as a hole. i spent quite a bit of time in the gulf. i think almost since the beginning, the last eight years since the beginning of iraq there's been a consistent theme among gulf leaders and anyone else out there, analysts -- whatever you want to talk about, what the iranian intention was, what the ultimate -- the ultimate process you're going to have to deal with them is, and a theme that the united states has been somewhat naive in its dealings with them. it's not this administration,
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its past administrations, it's back as far as you went to go. from the gulf air point of view, they do not believe the iranians are going to give up their nuclear weapons capabilities. and they also, most of them believe that the capability will move toward actual possession. they really have consistently said that the world needs to do something about it, the world meaning the united states needs to do something about it to prevent it. and then almost -- a fairly high number of them have come with a second statement right after that, another war in the gulf would be disastrous. i don't know how you reconcile the two at this point in dealing with it. and what's emerged in the last year or two is a resignation on the part of the more hardline states, that is hardline on the position that iranians -- iran has taken on nuclear weapons,
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that the only alternative is going to be war. as one commentator said almost three or four years ago, at an mei function, well known in the gulf, he said for the first time i now come to agree with the israelis almost 100% on an issue. and that issue is the nuclear capability and the direction that iran is headed with it. if you tak and set it aside and look at it, then you look at the war issue. and the possibility of war for the gulf states does create some difference in the way some of the states view the issue of conflict. you could argue that the kuwaitys in one way or another, the bahrainis and abu dhabi want
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to see the program stopped. people in dubai, oman, qatar have a slightly different view it. now, here's where i think the iranians make a mls take. i think the iranians see some possible separation in the various states out there when the issue of iran's possession of nuclear weapons or participation in the gulf, it really doesn't exist. this accounts for mistakes that they make from time to time. pronouncements by a senior foreign policy adviser to homonae back in 2008 or 2009 about bahrain being the 14th province of iran. and the storm in the gulf, i think honestly shocked the people in tehran, and they dispatched the minister of interior to a conference in bahrain to explain that's not what they meant at all. that was the real problem, the
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american zionists. to a degree, i think the iranians just don't understand how much their policy and attitude in the gulf is despised across the waterway from them. i actually think that while they may press the issue thinking there's some daylight, that does not exist in what you will find in the arab league behind a policy to either end or curtail the iranian program in one way or another. that said, i don't think anyone in the gulf has really added up what the potential cost for a full blown conflict is. and everybody is buying new avm systems. we're busy integrating command and control, et cetera, et cetera. not among the arabs, but linked to the u.s. we're looking at all sorts of
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options on keeping the straits open. i think the impact in the event that an actual war started would be significantly more than most of them have come to view as expected. >> set that aside, that brings up another issue. if geneive is right, and i tend to agree, that the iranians are not going to negotiate seriously over this, and if i'm right they view it in their interest to pursue nuclear weapons -- this goes back, this is not just this regime, it's the shah's position -- it's a historic thing of the iranian view of their role in the gulf. if that's the case, it's difficult for me to understand -- never say never, but it's difficult for me to understand how diplomacy is
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going to stop war. which raises the issue of diplomacy and war. diplomacy i see as a tool in forwarding your policy. diplomacy is supposed to be used to add to civility, is supposed to be used to forward your national interest. war is another tool that is used to forward your national interest and perhaps create stability. although, it's a far riskier course. but given the iranian position and given the israeli position, and given the daylight between the american and the israeli position, the american definition of capability versus possession and the israeli red line that they say, cape ability is the issue, then i think that there is a very high probability that this will go forward. i think it will be very
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difficult for the united states to stop the israelis from attacking the iranians if they decided they had to. impossible, as a matter of fact. just as i think it's very unlikely that sanctions will work to convince the iranians that they need to come and seriously negotiate. so looking at the future, i think that we're likely to see some sort of conflict. i think it's very unlikely that you will see the united states enter into a joint operation with the israelis. i think it's very likely you will see the united states initiate an operation. i think that if a unilateral israeli attack against iran's nuclear facilities occurs, is going to be as much political as it is military. in other words, the israeli -- the one thing holding the
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israelis back right now srkts fact that security officials and military officials are concerned about the limitations. it's a 2000 mile round trip. it's much, much more difficult than anything else they've undertaken. there is a strong preference that the united states deal with it, because we really are the only ones that have the capability to severely damage it. so one would have to assume that a unilateral israeli strike would express a level of -- if not desperation, but certainly a level of very heightened concern on their part, with a political objective of bringing the united states into the conflict. most likely by the iranians lashing out at everyone in the gulf. thank you. >> well, anybody who thought that mid-august was a time for
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good cheer had that illusion dispelled now, and we have ample time for questions, comments from what i do see is a very well informed audience. do we have microphones, however? we do . who's got microphones? very good. can i have this gentleman here in the green shirt first? stand up so they see you. and wait for the microphone. i meant the other guy in the green shirt. but that's okay, you can go ahead and we'll take the other guy next. >> let's try this one, what do you suppose our policy toward iran would be if they had no
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nuclear program? i argue it wouldn't be very different because the real issue is strategic control in the gulf. and that issue is ongoing, and is likely to become more dramatic. >> can you identify yourself again? with the microphone? >> ken meyer. >> thank you. >> allen, it seems like a question for you in part. >> well, i guess i -- can you hear me? >> there we are. i think i agree with you, ken. the issues would be separate. but certainly we have had what, 30 years of negotiations with the iranians on -- or nonnegotiations, struggle with the iranians over issues. but i think the nuclear issue is bringing it to a head. and this is something that we think that actually threatens the -- our own national
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interests so severely, that is the dominant issue. so basically, i think you're right. >> can we have a microphone down here, please? and please do introduce yourself, first? >> i'm an intelligence analyst. >> the strategic surprise invariably results from faulty assumptions. one of the assumptions we're making here is that when iran completes its bomb, they will test it. there is a proven design in the possession of iran. there is no need to test on iranian soil. they can test in downtown tel aviv, that's how strategic surprise happens. there is only one way to make sure that iran stops, stops completely. it's nuclear weapons
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development. and that's to promise them that within 48 hours of iranian use by iran or by one of its surrogates, the city of tehran will be destroyed and the holy city would be destroyed 37 that announcement now would be kept perpetually as a promise, will make the iranian weapon useless. >> we have a proposition to intimidate the iranians out of it. can that be done? >> i don't think so. >> i think that what we've seen over time is the more that iran is pressured and threatened, the more aggressive and belligerent the regime becomes. so i think that if there's one lesson that we should take away, particularly the last decade is, that iran doesn't respond to pressure in a way that's
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constructive. and so i think that that approach would be very counter productive. >> that begs the question, what would the iranians respond to? >> well, i think that -- a while ago they were responding to collaborative efforts in afghanistan. and there have been several commentaries written over the last several weeks that cooperation over syria could be some sort of entry point into improving relations. and i think that that's a very interesting and constructive proposal. i don't know if that leads us to a breakthrough on the nuclear issue. that's probably unlikely, but obviously, if we go back to sort of the beginning of the whole trust issue, and what i was mentioning a few minutes ago, have you to start somewhere. and i think if there could be another issue upon which there's
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collaboration that's not about the nuclear issue, that could be a trust building measure with iran, that that might be one way of eventually getting to the nuclear issue. and this proposal was considered by the u.s. government for many years. i mean, that we would try -- that's the reason that we were negotiating over afghanistan, to create some sort of broader relationship that -- in which we could discuss many things, not just the nuclear issue. i think the reason we're at an impasse now, is that there's been far too much focus on the nuclear issue, and not enough focus on issues on which there's some commonality between the two countries. >> roby? >> i think what you're talking about is a situation that exists. this thing of postulating threats and saying, if you do this i'll do that, that already exists. if something bad enough happened in downtown tel aviv or even the gulf, the iranian republic would
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be attacked in kmiz rat fashion. i think this is all -- i think this is all -- i don't think it's very constructive to make threats like this. the iranians are not stupid, they understand that a nuclear attack in downtown tel aviv will be the end of the iranian republic and it would be responded to accordingly. i think they absolutely do. you think for one minute that an attack on downtown tel aviv by the iranians won't end up with 200 israeli short range missiles following. >> i ask you not to do that, because you won't be heard. >> here's my point, though. the issue -- really what we're trying to do is figure out how it doesn't get to that point. where somebody can make a mistake. whether it's the iranians making the mistake, or the israelis with the iranians in position
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having to go on a launch basis because it's five minutes flying time. it may very well be -- this idea that diplomacy -- somehow diplomacy and war are separate, it may be the only way you arrive at negotiations at this point and something meaningful to prevent that kind of situation. it may be through war to negate that effort. it would be nice if that weren't the case, but i mean, we're pretty pessimistic about that right now. everybody. and so i hear what you're saying, but i think that's already understood. and this idea that the iranians are some kind of messianic crazy people that don't understand this, that's utter nonsense. that's people who don't understand how it's works or ho has worked within the iranian context. so i think the iranians are aware of it.
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i do think it's a huge risk, because when you get people in that launch on warning cycle and you don't know how to control, then you can have that happen. i think there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that if the iranians had a bomb, unloaded, oh, and by the way, whether you've got the design or not, and i spent a lot of time in the nuclear weapons industry, whether you've got the design or not, you do not know whether it will work or whether you've done it right until you put it in the ground and pop it. >> could i have this gentleman right in back there? right in back of you. >> mews staff ma rizal, research analyst at unreasonable defense. after the 1991 israeli attack, that did not finish the program that actually hindered the program and started the military attack of the program. would that lead to a crash
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program similar to the iraqi crash program that started after the invasion of kuwait, which was like their regime intended to build a bomb in six months. would that trigger, if the iranians started to do that after an israeli attack, what would the u.s. respond to that be? >> allan? >> i can i'm going to defer to roby on this one because he is a historian who is superbized in this period. so roby? >> here's -- i actually believe this time the knowledge, the know-how and the technical capability is dispersed enough in iran that the likelihood an israeli strike could do any more than just temporarily curtail it, and i mean maybe not even that, is probably not very likely. and i think that the iranians learned something from '91. you don't put all your eggs in
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one basket when you're doing it. i was recently at a function in germany. and the germans have very good relations with the iranians and have historically. a lot of their analytical people are actually trained and educated at the university of tehran and other places. and we had this exact same discussion. as one person in frustrated fashion when i pointed out that the sanctions had come too little too late, i was hoping that wasn't the case, but i felt like that probably was. but he said nobody's got any ideas, just blurted this out, which of course is true. so i don't think it's a question of if that happened. it's i think that it would virtually exist from the beginning, which leads you to the question of is it going to look like a no-fly zone over iraq from '91 to 2003 where you're constantly repeating
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this, trying to do it? i think that short of the fracturing of the entire iranian state, sort of what happened to iraq by accident, we didn't intend it after 2003, but by accident, you're not going to see that capability go away. and that's a huge -- that's a huge issue right there. because it is so ingrained in their perception of themselves of sovereignty, of national rights, that even people that oppose the current regime and might replace the current regime believe it's iran's right to have a nuclear program and do with it what they want. does that -- [ inaudible ] >> no, i have to ask you not to conduct conversation without the microphone. >> what if they used the safeguard like the russian fuel they already have, which is almost like 80% enriched? what if they use that to launch
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a crash program, crash program similar to the iraqi program to produce at least like a single bomb in like limited time, like three or six months? >> i thought i agreed with you? i think it would be an ongoing thing. i'm not even sure we would get it all if we went after it. you see what i'm saying? >> i hope no one misunderstands that it seems more likely than before that there could be a unilateral military attack. this is not something that any of us believe is the solution. and i think you raise the most important question which is what happens the morning after. and i think that if you read all the statements coming out from both israeli military officials and politicians, they openly acknowledge that a unilateral attack will not set back iran's nuclear program. in fact, they have openly said
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that maybe they would have to have isolated attacks on iran's nuclear facilities every few years. so i think it is safe to assume that of course a unilateral attack would hasten iraq's nuclear program, and that's a given. as points out, i think from everything we know about iranian society, it is an issue that is a point of national pride. and if the country were attacked simply on that basis, you can assume that there would be far more support for the government than exists today, which is completely counterproductive to what the united states -- its interest, where the united states believes its interests lie. >> let me take the gentleman right in front of you there. >> thank you. you talked about sanctions before. i have a question. we hear about the sanctions are
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multilateral, the yu sanctions, the european sanctions, different country sanctions such as that. i'm waiting to see one case outside of the united states where a financial institution, where individuals, where an organization, where everybody either paid a fine or was imprisoned. when i ask that question, it's usually very embarrassing in the government circles because i think what happens is there is no example. what i often say sometimes is there is an old italian proverb that many pair of shoes is warn out between saying and doing. i think it's wonderful that we have and we have a plan. anything that will cause diplomacy is a good thing before war. but as general de gaulle said, even silence is a weapon. so i'm just wondering what your views are on the sanctions, basically. >> well, maybe i should respond to that.
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first of all, as you work for treasury, you may be better positioned to answer your own question than i am. but i think the retribution for violating sanctions hasn't necessarily been imprisonment and fines but have been denial to the u.s. market. and that has been a very powerful incentive to discourage doing business, buying oil from iran. so there have been incentives and there have been punishments. as to the exact answer to your question, i can't answer that. but to some extent it's not the most relevant answer, because the effect of these sanctions are very well-known, and there has been a drop of some 40% or more in iranian oil exports. there has been an inflation rate that has now about doubled. there are beginning to be shortages. so i think the effect e -- does
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it have any political effect and the answer is unclear at best. >> have a gentleman down here. >> i'm jonathan brodeur from congressional quarterly. i noticed, allan that in the report the political constraints that are on the administration right now to get into a serious negotiation with the iranians. i'm talking about why the diplomatic track is stalemated. my question is this. given that one of the key iranian demands is recognition of its right to enrich, even at 3.5%, in your view and the view of others on the panel, is it
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politically impossible for any american administration before or after the election to recognize that kind of right? >> good question. and the answer is, again, i don't know. but let me tell you what i think. it's certainly politically impossible before an election, and after that it's conceivable that i think an administration could come to some sort of agreement based on this basis. and what are the alternatives? are you willing to attack periodically or are you willing to send in the troops? are you willing to absorb $800 a barrel oil for a month or two or three or six months? so you have to look at it from those possibilities. and if you do, i'm not as pessimistic as i believe the
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other two on the panel are about the possibilities of war because frankly, the results are just horrendous. and i see this as a chance for renewed efforts at negotiation. and it some ways remind me of the peace process. people know the answer, but they can't find the political will to get there. this is a somewhat parallel. there is an answer that has been forward by tom pickering and many others who are experts in this area. and it's a question of coming up with tight enough controls so that people can have confidence that they will work. and so, politically, that's a different problem. it deals with the nature of american politics and we'll have a better idea after november. >> maybe i can just add a word to what allan said with which i
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agree completely, and that is you have to realize that there are quite a few countries that have reached the point that iran has reached in terms of capability to enrich, for example, who have stepped back from getting nuclear weapons. the one i knew best was brazil because i served in brazilia. and the equation there was particularly simple because they had only one motive to develop nuclear weapons, and that was argentina. and argentina had only one motive and that was brazil. so a mutual standdown was possible. how does the iranian situation differ from that? well, in several important ways. one is complete lack of confidence between iran and the people they threaten, or that they might threaten. another is that it's a multiparty situation. it's not just israel or several nuclear powers nearby or potential nuclear powers nearby. so it's a much more complicated
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situation and one in which building confidence is much more difficult. but if you have what allan's pointing to, which is very strict safeguards that you eliminate for all practical purposes the possibility of enriching above a certain level, you really -- an agreement is conceivable. it's not -- we're not imagining something that can't be imagined. it's something quite possible which has the equivalent has been done in other cases. let me take this gentleman here. >> actually, my question relates to the previous question, and that is we hear a lot and it was mentioned again today that iranians are not seriously negotiating with the west or the p5 plus 1.
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but from the report i seen from the summary that was mentioned, i heard that some today that americans are waiting for the sanctions to have its course and perhaps influence the course of the iranians' action. so you see there is -- i'm baffled that at some point americans are moving on full speed with their pressure track. and while they are having their diplomatic track also mentioned. yet no one criticizing the west, not seriously negotiating in the talks. but iran always has been mentioned as the acting is not serious. i want to say that there is no excuse for iranians unwillingness in the past. but from what i know at least from what i observe from the
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iranian press and developments in iran, this time, i mean, beginning from april negotiation, iran for its own various reasons is seriously committed to the negotiations. unfortunately, it's a political year of the elections, and it's the americans side, hoping perhaps the sanctions as well as the dynamic of the elections, they are not committed. so that is one comment i'm going to make in there. the second is to ms. abdo. i really appreciate your comments, but you got me lost somewhere when you said mr. mousavian has mentioned and has proposed -- a proposal of accepting the iranians' medium rights of 2.5. and you don't see that iranians
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are not serious about this or they have changed the course. i would like to get your evidence on that because i don't see that, at least i don't see in the comments by the supreme leader, by jalili or anyone else who is pursuing this track. thank you. >> jeneive, you want to start off? >> i want to go back to sort of the broader point before i answer your specific question about 3.5%. i do think that if there could be a way -- a measure of confidence building after the november election, perhaps iran would entertain the 3.5 to 5% enrichment reduction. but i think that the problem has -- the problem that has developed is that at the time that iran was willing to seriously consider this proposal, the united states
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backed away from it. so i think that from iran's perspective, every time they come close to accepting something that they never said they would accept in the past, the offer is withdrawn, or it's no longer a possibility for a variety of reasons. either political, domestic situation in the united states, the israelis. so i think to answer your specific question, because there is a lot less confidence on the iranian side, i think it's much more difficult now to get to that 3.5 to 5% than it was six months ago when ambassador mousavian first floated that idea in the boston globe. so that's why i gave the answer that i did. because i think that unfortunately as this process evolves, you have, you know, the iranian perception is that they don't want to ever even think about offers anymore, because as soon as they get close to compromising, it's no longer on the table, and the bar is
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raised. and there is absolute evidence for that. i mean, you know, every time their seems to be some sort of negotiating process, the west makes greater demands. so that's why i'm not very optimistic any longer about the 3.5 to 5%. however, if somehow we could turn the clock back after the presidential elect, maybe there are talks over syria, maybe there is some completely unrelated negotiation process that goes on unofficially, then perhaps that could be a confidence-building measure to get us back to where we were six months ago. and i think also on the issue of sanctions, you know, the sanctions are hurting the regime. people who say the sanctions aren't hurting the regime, that's somewhat ludicrous. and i think, though, it's important for us to also realize to what degree the sanctions are hurting the population. and we should never forget that. and it sort of gets lost. i mean people can't afford to buy chicken anymore.
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the price -- inflation, the devaluation of the rial has tremendously hurt people's buying power. and the middle class is suffering the most, according to a lot of renowned economists who are studying this issue. so i think we have to keep that in mind as we talk about sort of the effect of sanctions. >> the americans seriously or not? >> well, i think they are negotiating seriously. maybe i differ a little bit from genive. but we're not at this point able politically to reach a deal in a grand way that the iranians would regard as satisfactory. the proposal is in essence a series of confidence building measures that the american view could lead to serious negotiations on big issues along
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the lines that they suggest. it's the old adage about you got to walk before you can run. in this case, crawl before you can walk. so the iranians have not been willing to deal at this level. and so you have a mismatch. and i guess my own thought is that eventually the fears that come from the fear of war will perhaps lead a little solemnity to all of this. i don't see that happening before the u.s. elect. >> please? >> thank you. george baumgarten from the u.n. press corps in new york. i'd like to address this to any of you, but particularly to ms. abdo. this goes to the question of
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what is really going on and what do the people really think inside iran. sorry. do the people at large, the majority of the people really support the government on development of nuclear weapons or do some really believe it's only for peaceful purposes? do they really support the government or does any significant percentage in the population look at this and say hey, we've got one of the world's prime petrol puddles on the planet, and we're spending all this money on the development of peaceful alternative sources of energy. does nobody realize that this is costing the government and therefore, you know, it's costing us? and the government can't spend this money on social service needs, educational needs or whatever? >> thank you.
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>> i think that i would like to turn that question over to the iranians in the room to get some sense of public opinion. and there are a few familiar faces. reza akbari is also with mri. so maybe he could give us a sense of public opinion in iran. i think that would be very helpful. >> reza? where are you? yeah, there you are. >> i think it's a very difficult -- kirks you stand? >> of course, sorry. i think it's a very difficult question to answer because i personally am not brave enough to represent, you know, the public opinion or claim that i know what 75 million people in the country think. it is also very difficult because when you think about polls and some public opinion polls have been conducted, they are usually very difficult to judge given the restrictions
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that the society experiences from the government. for the most part, i think i'm going to defer to a lot of scholars who have written about public opinion and what the iranian public believe when it comes to the nuclear issue. i think that's one thing that the public does support the government on. now the question is after sanctions, how is it going to affect the people if the costs are actually increased for the people. and if the impact of sanctions are actually felt for public, will the iranian public going to be changing their opinion on this, and at some point saying okay, enough is enough. it's not worth it, you know. it would be a good thing to have. but as geneive said, we can't buy chicken. we would rather go along with our everyday activities and livelihood. so i don't know if that -- maybe there was a second part to your
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question. i don't know if i -- >> it has to do with the issue do the people really support this? and do they not see what it's doing? and do they support it only -- sorry -- and do they support it only as development to peaceful uses of atomic energy. do they not realize what the real intent of the government is? >> well, the real intent of the government is also assumed by anyone you speak to. the government says that we are just going to be -- as far as the government is concerned, they're not even developing a nuclear weapon. it's for peaceful energy purposes. so that, again, gets very tricky. it depends what segment of the population believe has the government tells them, what segment of the population, the young, the more educated to have access to social media and various other ways of getting information have other doubts. so i think it's very difficult
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to kind of answer your question very simply and say yes, the people do realize it. i think the costs have been increased, the sanctions are impacting some of the average people, industry. and i think it's a little early to say if that's going to change to public opinion against the government or not. and i guess i'll just leave it at that. >> thank you. do you have a question? yes. just pass the microphone. you stand up, please, and introduce yourself. >> my name is jessica sheeder. i had a reaction that mr. keiswetter made on the two-track system. obviously it is incredibly politically dangerous to reach an agreement with iran just ahead of the election because it would essentially give the republicans something to gnaw on for a while. but with regards to, you know, coming into negotiations maybe after elections with some degree of credibility, it would be important, for example, to have, like, sanctions relief on the table.
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and your comments to crippling sanctions versus truly crippling sanctions earlier, i'd kind of like you to respond if, you know, we continued to up our military presence in the gulf, if we continue -- i mean just last week this was legislation that passed additional sanctions that i didn't even know were possible. we have really targeted everything. how do we between now and election season, i mean, should there not almost be a form of trust exercise be it on our side to demonstrate a willingness to negotiate afterwards, not that they see our paralysis before the election as a sign that we are genuinely not interested in negotiating? >> i think to answer your question, perhaps the biggest element of trust is the -- i think the intensive u.s. effort to convince the israelis that now is not the time to attack. and the rest of this is sort of beyond the administration's control at this point.
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that would be my answer. >> please? >> mr. serwer, you made a point earlier, and that's something i want to address my question or comments to. you said that there must be something that would make the iranians agree to it. and if i were an iranian negotiator, my position would be to dismantle israel's nuclear capability, number one, destroy israel's nuclear stockpile. number three, we want to get what the russian and chinese position is with respect to an unilateral attack by israel on iran. i think they should take the courage to come forward and say they would neutralize israel just as the united states would
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say if israel was attacked with a nuclear weapon, suddenly tehran would go up in flames, just like khrushchev said during the '60s when france and england attacked egypt that if you don't stop and withdraw, london and paris will go up in nuclear flames. so there should be a counter threat in order to stop israel from a unilateral attack. because i think the u.s. says just mr. barack obama's cajoling israel to stop is not going to stop there has got to be a counter-measure. >> anybody want to take that one on? >> it was addressed to you, dan. >> well, i, you know, i'm a realist. i don't think that israel is going to give up its nuclear weapons, its nuclear option. and if that's what is required, i mean it just puts us back on
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the path that we've already unfortunately said that we're on. i had a question -- >> well, i'd like to respond to that too. >> oh, sorry. >> i think there is an issue here. people are talking diplomatic track, they're talking pressure track, they're talking conflict track, whereas all of these are part of the same process, okay. if a conflict breaks out tomorrow, do you think there is not going to be this incredible flurry of diplomatic activity on the back side of the conflict while it's going on? okay, about trying to limit it, about trying to do this? and then on the other side of and so i think seeing these things as alternatives is wrong. i think they're all a part of the same continuum, and there is parts of it that are much higher risks than other parts of it.
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any time you start thinking that you're going to solve a problem with war, then you better think about it again because you're going to create another problem. any time that you think you can absolutely prevent a war and create a stable situation through negotiations when the tensions are running as high as they are and the positions are as horard as they are in this o, you're also being naive about it. i think it's more productive to view this on a continual where all these things are tools. and one more comment about the iranians. if i were the iranians or i were advising the iranians from an iranian point of view, i would look at the past ten years and say the united states has destroyed our enemy the taliban in afghanistan, they have done everything, accomplished every policy goal that we had in the iran/iraq war.
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they have gotten rid of saddam, the baath party and they placed the shia in control of iraq. okay. the united states comes around and it holds its hands out wanting to have a relationship with us. they label us the part of the axis of evil and then do nothing about it. and we're not talking about this administration, okay. and then now the united states is trying to get the israelis to back off an attack so they can let the sanctions thing work. i'm not sure i would believe we were serious, or anybody was serious at this point. so i think they're making a big misjudgment about just how serious this situation is right now. because i think it's serious. >> i have three comments. one is i take your attention to the quotation from churchill that is on the cover of the paper about war. secondly, about israel and its nuclear weapons. there are beginnings along these lines of a u.n.-sponsored
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conference on a middle east nuclear-free zone. but that's only the very beginnings, and you know, generations away from anything happening. >> let me take this gentleman in the bright blue shirt. whenever you come to a meeting like this, wear a bright blue shirt. >> thank you. josh from human rights watch. i want to get back to sanctions and something ms. abdo said. it seems there have been many reports of how much the sanctions are harming the civilian population. it seems to me that the only good option with iran that has maybe a 1% chance of working is for eventually the regime to fall and a new regime to pop up that would maybe want nuclear capacity but wouldn't have the rhetoric that makes israel so upset or america so upset also. if these sanctions are harming the middle class so much that their whole civil society structures are collapsing which reports are telling us they are, and if these sanctions aren't
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biting enough to really harm the regime, because we all know, this regime wants to stay in power. so if they want their nuclear program, that's where they're going to put all their money. so if the sanctions aren't doing much to prevent the regime from doing what it wants and it's doing a lot from preventing the people to be able to build a civil society to actually do something in the future, then what is the point of the sanctions and why are we doing them? thank you. >> well, one answer is that they have 40% less income to do things, to spend for whatever activities they have in mind, whether it's nuclear or otherwise. and i think that it's not right to argue there has been no response. it just hasn't been concentrated enough at the political level. now whether it will ever reach that is another question. i don't know whether you've seen the movie the green wave, but if not i recommend it. it comes away making quite a point, which is that the regime is now so cruel and brutal that
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it's provoking a resistance that may take some time to generate, but there is a reaction to the very severe reaction that they have. and i was very struck by one of the i believe tweets or bloggers saying our greatest weapon is our endurance. >> i'm going to take one last question. let it be this one. and then i'm going to ask a panel to make final remarks if they want to. >> ram assami, political access. i would like to hear thoughts on kenneth walter's argument. >> for the audience, why don't you tell what's kenneth walter's argument is? let it go. having a nuclear aaron will create security and stability in the region and give them enough self-confidence to stay the course.
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>> well, i'm sure roby will want to comment on this. but my own reaction is it's much like -- what's his name? not -- hershheimer's argument that what we needed is more nuclear weapons in the world. so my reaction it is may be in fact we end up with a policy of containment. and i personally think it would work. but i don't think it should be our intended policy. there are better options. >> roby? >> i think that it opens the door. i think this is one of the -- one of the arguments that the israelis have been making is probably correct. it opens the door to a whole series of countries -- turkey -- because if you think the old competition between turkey and iran is dead, then you don't
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understand what the geopolitical dynamic has been for 500 years or maybe even longer, probably a lot longer than that. turkey, egypt, saudi arabia, i think all of them would at least consider the nuclear option because none of them, i mean they as a whole at a very fundamental level despise the iranians and fear the iranians. it's a historic thing. but the other thing is i think it's totally impractical. i don't think that -- i think there is any way this administration or the next administration or any other administration here can agree to that because they will be pummelled by the opposition. and it's a political limitation on our part. so -- and i think people are underestimating the obama administration because militarily and in the use of
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force, the obama administration has been far more aggressive in many ways than the bush administration was. far more aggressive. if you look at -- i mean remember, it was the republicans who castigated him for saying that if he found out osama bin laden were in pakistan, that he would go into pakistan unilaterally and get him. what happened? right? so i think people are assuming that somehow obama is really going to be easier in the long-term. i think they really hope that somehow the iranians will come around to the view this is serious. but i also think there is a very realistic view that it's not likely. and then we have that ignition point we have to look at what would happen at that point. does that make sense? >> i think when you think about it, it's a very destabilizing situation. >> right. >> not only because of
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proliferation, but then because the israelis are reduced to choose between launch on warning or taking a big risk. and i don't think they would want to take the big risk. so they would launch on warning. this is one of the reasons i think there really is a negotiated solution because i think when the iranians really think hard about what the implications of their actual possession of nuclear weapons would be, they wouldn't be in iran's interests. so maybe i can ask the panel going in reverse order to make any final remarks that they would like. roby? >> i'm afraid that the path of some sort of meaningful arrangement, and don't kid yourself about there no longer being a conflict in the gulf. there will always be a conflict between iran and the gulf arabs and their neighbors. it's just the nature of the thing.
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and it dates back -- i can give you example after example after example historically. so i don't really see that changing. but i think going to a situation where you have a simmering conflict with there is no big strategic issues, where people feel like they have to do something, the only path to convince the iranians at this point that everybody is really serious, it unfortunately may take a conflict. it may take a conflict. >> geneive? >> i'd like to go back to what we were talking about earlier that even if there is a conflict, i don't think that will resolve the issue. and i think the story is far from told. a lot of what happens with u.s./iran relations will depend on what is happening in syria. it will depend on what eventually happens in bahrain. and that we are likely to see or
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have some sort of unintended consequences of the arab uprisings in terms of iran's power and influence in the region. >> allen? >> well, my position is the common ground that i cited. i think the primary goal of the moment has to be to stave off conflict because i think it would be devastating economically. i don't think the u.s. public wants another war in this part of the world. i don't think the countries there want it. and there has to be some options here. and so primary -- the primary job to do now is to stave off the conflict. and then you think about how you can negotiate seriously in a new american administration. >> in concluding, let me just
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thank the staff of mei and of zeiss for their strong support, and thank the panel for really good discussion.
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all the time. ladies and gentlemen, they are adding insult to our toges the insult they made for civil discourse. people in that room knew what the vice president meant.
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it is to the credit of the people there that they upped him very well and rejected what -- understood him very well and rejected what they heard. the white house doesn't plan to stop the cynicism. you know why? because they think it will work. and you kind of get them, you know, if you ran four years ago
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unemployment has been over 8% for 43 consecutive months now. if you promised to bring the country together, when it is more divided than ever, you get my drift. how many of us believed four years ago that barack obama was not just a politician? how many americans invested their hope that he was more and that his presidency would mean more. we may not have the power to stop it.
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the american people have the power to punish it. they can punish it by saying, if i can put the president, not this time. thank you all. [applause] >> good afternoon. my name is jane gandy. i'm a small business person in northern virginia, but i'm not here today as a business person, because i have come full face forward with medicare. a few weeks ago i brought my sister, who is 65 years old, up here so that i could help with her care. i am paying attention. she is 65. she was a brilliant high school's teacher. paid into the system. and the rest of her years will depend on medicare's help. because of her bipolar, her heart disease, and also some
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early dementia, she needs a lot of medicine. she needs good care. that is important for her. with those things, she does just fine. now that i am paying attention to obamacare and to the affordable care act, reading some of the nonpartisan reports about where the money is coming from to fund the affordable care act, it worries me. she needs this care. i understand from the ryan proposal that she, at 65, and meet -- from the ryan proposal that she, at 65, and me will not be affected. this is very important to me. it is very important to judy. it is important to all of us out there who have already moved into that over-60 crowd. pay attention. i did not until a week and a half ago. it is important.
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i hope everyone will pay attention to the differences between the affordable care act, the cuts to medicare. thank you for your time. i think now we will take questions. [applause] >> questions? >> how can doctors keep working to treat people on medicare when medicare does not pay their bills and will be less able to pay their bills with what obamacare is doing to the system? >> you ask a very important question. i say that not to flatter you. you put your finger on something that most people missed about it affordable care act.
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the affordable care at is around a trillion dollars. 70% of it, maybe upper 60's, of it is paid for by cutting medicare. let me say that again, they paid for an act that most of the american people did not want and that most seniors did not want by taking money out of today's medicare pot. every doctor who services a medicare population knows it. to your point, doctors, the good doctors all over northern virginia, all over this state, all over this country, are no longer participating in the medicare program because this is something we missed sometimes. how do they cut medicare? the administration said, we are making changes. we are instituting savings and cost cutting provisions. that sounds good.
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right? the saving in the cost-cutting provision is they took money out of the medicare pot that goes to doctors. i remember people in my old party, the democratic party, who would say we are not cutting medicare, we are cutting money going to the rich doctors. what do they think happens when you cut the fees to doctors? they stop providing services. in addition to doctors, he made that decision because every doctor is a small business person. let me slip into another point here. this commission that was appointed, that the democrats did not want to talk about, they appointed a commission that nobody can tell you who is on it. they do not have public meetings. the administration loves to brag about transparency.
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they ought to put this commission on c-span. the commission gets to decide procedure by procedure where the cuts ought to happen. with congress having no say. with you having no say. the doctors having no say. it is bad business for the country. it is difficult business for doctors. you put your finger on something a lot of people have missed. make this the last question. >> what are the chances of romney and ryan, first, if they get into office, what are their chances of turning this around? >> well, sometimes -- we're in virginia, we are not in washington, d.c. when you get a run the air in washington, d.c., you hear that
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presidents can't get anything done. it is tough being president. when you are president, people start being mean to you. they try to block your proposals. hmm. you would almost think that this separation of powers was a partisan trick invented four years ago. just to mess with barack obama. the way this system works is leaders do matter if leaders can summon the country to follow them and if they are able to frankly work with the other side. isn't this the first president we have seen in our lifetimes who has not one time on one issue figured out how to work with the other side? of all the proposals that past, not one time did he figure out how to bring any republicans into his tent.
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kennedy and johnson and clinton and carter and bush and bush and reagan all figured it out. it is hard, but it cannot be that hard. if even one of them figured it out. so i think they can fix it. let me tell you one thing about congressman ryan, i did serve with him for eight years. congressman ryan and the time he spent in public library has accomplished more than anyone in his generation. yes, but no offense intended to our president. president obama was in public life for roughly 12 years. before he became president. paul ryan has been in public life for 14 years. barack obama wrote two books. but passed no laws.
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paul ryan crafted a document that has become the signature document on budget reduction in this country. he is not a chairman. he does not have any special status. he is a fairly jr. leader of congress. his leadership record shows me that a leader with talent and ability and a commitment to getting things done can make things happen. that is governor romney's story too. if you can run massachusetts and you're a republican, you proved you can run anything. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you for coming out.
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>> the republican national committee has released a schedule for this month's convention. starting on monday, august 27 in tampa. this year, the keynote speaker will be governor chris christie. and senator marco rubio will deliver introduction for mitt romney who speaks on thursday. we'll have gavel-to-gaffle coverage of the democratic and -- gavel-to-gavel coverage to have democrat and republican conventions here on c-span. i was in a training program after i got out of the army. >> this sunday," washington post" columnist walter pincus talks about his various jobs, his views on spending, and his criticism of the defense department's budget priorities.
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>> they built a facility for about 40 people. it has rooms for everybody. if he spent four million dollars on an elementary school i bet somebody would ask questions. >> more, sunday night at 8:00. >> house budget committee's chris van hollen talked about his personal relationship with paul ryan. he said they have "very deep and fundamental differences about where we should go in this country." he made these remarks at a politics and eggs breakfast in bedford, new hampshire. the event, which began in 1996, is a regular stop for
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